Relatives leave the scene of Lily Mine tragedy, dept vows to support them
Minister Mosebenzi Zwane assured families they’ll continue to support them through the ordeal.
JOHANNESBURG - Two of the families affected by the Lily Mine tragedy have now left the Barberton operation with an assurance from Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane that his department will continue to support them throughout the ordeal.
Early last month, a container plunged into a massive hole caused by rock fall at the mine in Mpumalanga.
A large concrete structure at the entrance of the mine tunnel and soil from a hill next to the sinkhole broke off and fell into the same hole where the container is stuck.
Solomon Nyerende, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule have been trapped underground ever since.
Conditions have been too dangerous for the rescue team to go underground, following a second collapse near the same spot where the container is located.
The department's Martin Madlala says they are still in constant contact with the families.
"Those members who feel that it's appropriate for them to continue at the site and those who deem it necessary to return to their homes will continue to be afforded support."
CALLS FOR PROBE
Earlier this month, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said the department should investigate the cause of the collapse.
Vantage Goldfields announced that it could take recovery miners up to six months to reach the container through a new entrance.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the department should not obsess over the new decline shaft at the mine and forget the independent inquiry.
"The safety of mineworkers is still not regarded as a priority. This is informed by the trend and the manner in which these incidents are happening."
He said the union is concerned about a growing trend of mine bosses sacrificing worker safety or using retrenchments to grow profits in a declining industry.
"This takes place in a climate of growing insecurity created by the waves of retrenchments in all sectors of mining."
Furthermore, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called for a thorough investigation into the Lily Mine tragedy after the National Union of Mineworkers was barred from entering the site for a second time.
Cosatu's Sizwe Pamla says the trade union was again barred from entering the mine yesterday where it wanted to address workers.
"An accident happened at a workplace and a trade union is being used to communicate on behalf of the mine… why workers should understand the side of the mine? We want the investigation to check whether the mine owners failed to do something."