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Zwane: Retrieving trapped miners at Lily Mine remains our primary concern

Mosebenzi Zwane has, through a statement, told families that he understands their frustration and is working hard to find a solution.

Yvonne Mnisi's father Almond, who is also a Lily Mine employee, says he has not given up hope that his daughter is still alive. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Mineral Resources Department says retrieving the metal structure that trapped three mineworkers underground at the Lily Mine almost a year ago remains its primary concern.

The department says it has worked tirelessly with the mining company to ensure that the bodies of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyerende are brought back to the surface.

Efforts to rescue the three workers were called off last year as a result of safety challenges.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has, through a statement, told families that he understands their frustration and is working hard to find a solution.

The family of Yvonne Mnisi has told Eyewitness News that they have been broken since the tragedy last year and would want nothing more than to see their loved one receive a respectful burial.

The department says Vantage Gold remains liable to the families for the R600,000 promised to them.

The Lily Mine went into business rescue last year after the disaster and now needs R200 million to start up operations again.

MONEY WON’T BRING HER BACK

The Mnisi family says they would rather not concern themselves with the clash between miners and vantage point.

Mnisi’s father, Elmon Mnisi, says while they too have not been paid the R200,000 owed to them by the Mineral Resources Department and the mine, their main focus is to see their daughter given a respectful burial.

“All I want is for my daughter’s body to be found. What will money give me if I don’t have my daughter?”

Lilly Mine management had initially planned a remembrance service for the three workers but say they have had to cancel those plans because of the planned protest by miners and union Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu).

At the same time, Cosatu has reaffirmed its commitment to a planned protest against the Lily Mine.

Cosatu still maintains not enough is being done and therefore they will continue protesting.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)