Lily Mine families get a breakthrough

The families said progress was made in the litigation against the mine’s management.

Family members of the trapped miners at Lily Mine on 11 February, 2016. Religious leaders pray for the trio and the families. Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The families of three Lily Mine workers who were buried underground four years ago said progress was made in the litigation against the mine’s management.

The workers were trapped underground at the Mpumalanga mine after a tremor caused a container office to plunge down.

It’s been four years and a few months since the tragedy and Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda are still unaccounted for.

Months after the disaster, professional mining rescue teams abandoned their efforts to find the missing workers, conceding that it would be an impossible mission.

However, exactly 480 days ago family members and former colleagues desperate for closure decided to retrieve the bodies themselves pitching tents near the site.

Their attempts were unsuccessful.

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba stepped in and committed himself to help the families to find closure.

Last month, Mashaba announced his intention to take the Mineral Resources Department to court to try and to force government to find the missing workers.

Mashaba’s lawyers requested documents from the department to prove that the container was irretrievable.

Harry Mazibuko, who speaks on behalf of the families, said state lawyers finally responded and availed documents that explain why the container could not be retrieved.

Mazikuko added that the court challenge will help them find the answers they are looking for.

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