Cosatu: Lily Mine tragedy points to bigger problem

The trade union federation says the Lily Mine tragedy points to an un-transformed mining sector.

Lily Mine in Baberton, Mpumalanga. Picture: Vantage Goldfields Limited.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says the Lily Mine tragedy points to the bigger problem of an un-transformed mining sector.

The trade union federation is demanding answers from Lily Mine management about the three workers who have been trapped underground since early last month.

It claims on the rare occasions union officials have had access to the mine, there were no indications of investigations taking place.

Cosatu says they want to engage with both families and workers but have been prevented by a collusion between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and management.

Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla says, "Right now it's the biggest company that is actually shutting down mines. All of these things point to a mining sector that is not being held accountable."

WATCH: Inside the Lily Mine

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.