The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has sought to assure mining unions that they are working on a plan to retrieve a container – which collapsed underground with three mine workers inside at the Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga, in February 2016.

This comes after Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), and Action SA President, Herman Mashaba, raised questions over – what they term – government’s failure to fund the retrieval of the container.

Mashaba has announced his legal team’s intention to implement a strategy to force government to retrieve the container.

Mashaba to force government to retrieve bodies of mine workers

The remains of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi, and Solomon Nyirenda are yet to be retrieved.

The Chief Inspector of Mines at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy David Msiza says, “We disagree with the statement that says the department has indicated that the container cannot be retrieved. What we have said from the beginning is that the department has been working with the owners of the mine to come up with a plan to retrieve the container.”

“We still believe it can be retrieved. The only thing that needs to be done is ensure that it’s done safely. We have been working together with the owners and BRP as we have been frustrated and concerned with the process. The first priority is the retrieval of that container,” adds Msiza.