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Lily Mine remembrance service postponed due to safety concerns

Sturns, a business rescue practice, says they were alerted that groups of people planned to disrupt the service at the mine entrance.

FILE: Sink hole at the Lily Mine in Barberton. Picture: Vantage Goldfield

JOHANNESBURG - Vantage Goldfields has decided to postpone the Lily Mine remembrance service this coming Sunday (5 February) due to safety concerns.

Sturns, a business rescue practice, says they were alerted that groups of people planned to disrupt the service at the mine entrance.

Vantage Goldfields, now under business rescue, closed last year after a metal container was trapped nearly a kilometre underground.

Three miners were trapped when the ground collapsed.

Business rescue practitioner Rob Devereux says they’ve had to postpone the remembrance event because they cannot guarantee the safety of families and dignitaries.

“We’ve been told that there’ll be blockages aimed at blocking the dignitaries from travelling to the mine and that there might be disruptions during the service.”

Devereux says he cannot identify the people planning the disruptions and he is not aware of their reasons, but says police have been notified: “Police have been involved in the organisation of the remembrance service.”

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who said it would not attend the event, marched to the mine last year demanding that workers be paid their outstanding salaries and the trapped bodies be retrieved.

Sunday will be exactly a year since Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyerende were trapped underground.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)