Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

On the somber eighth anniversary of the Lily Mine disaster, families of the three mine workers—Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule, and Solomon Nyirenda—gathered at Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga. The tragic incident occurred on February 5, 2016, when the container the workers were in fell into a sinkhole caused by a collapsed crown pillar, leading to their entrapment and burial under massive rocks. Despite ongoing efforts, the container containing the bodies remains unretrieved, prompting families to advocate for its extraction.

Civil society groups, political formations, and opposition party ActionSA, led by Herman Mashaba, have been at the forefront of urging the government to intensify retrieval efforts. Mashaba, during a visit to Lily Mine, criticized the government’s handling of the situation, accusing them of deceit and covering up the matter. Legal challenges have been initiated to compel authorities to recover the trapped miners. Mashaba expressed determination to ensure the bodies are retrieved, announcing forthcoming legal actions to increase pressure on the government.

The CEO of Vantage Goldfields’ Lily Mine, Mike McChesney, had previously reported that geological experts advised against sending rescuers underground due to ground instability. Last year, an inquest into the incident found the mine owners responsible for inadequate safety measures. The Mbombela Magistrate’s Court also attributed blame to government entities for failing to combat illegal mining, contributing to the miners’ deaths. ActionSA plans to focus on litigation for compensation and the reopening of the mines, emphasizing the party’s commitment to holding responsible parties accountable.

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