1,000 days later & families of trapped Lily Mine workers feel betrayed by govt

Tuesday marks 1,000 days since the relatives of Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyirenda and Yvonne Mnisi set up camp at the mine’s gates near Barberton in Mpumalanga.

The dirt road leading to the area where the collapse happened at the Lily mine near Barberton, Mpumalanga. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The families of three Lily Mine workers whose remains are yet to be retrieved from underground since the 2016 tragedy, said they felt let down by government.

Tuesday marks 1,000 days since the relatives of Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyirenda and Yvonne Mnisi set up camp at the mine’s gates near Barberton in Mpumalanga.

They are calling for government’s intervention to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones, who are presumed dead after the lamp room container they were working in was buried about 70 meters underground during a cave in.

A thousand days on, Nkambule, Nyirenda and Mnisi’s families who are joined by former Lily Mine workers and community members are still seeking answers around the mine collapse that saw the three trapped and the container they were working in deemed irretrievable.

The group, who are camping at the mine, have criticised government’s unwillingness to remedy the situation.

Their spokesperson Harry Mazibuko said: “Today we mark 1,000 days of families seeing torture, betrayal, lies and everything from our own management who is our employer and our government.”

To mark the 1,000 days, they held a night vigil and reiterated their call for government’s intervention to retrieve the bodies.

Next month marks six years since the tragedy.