Families of three Lily mineworkers buried underground mark 1 000 days of camping outside the mine

Lily Mine
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The families of the three mine workers, whose bodies have remained underground at the Lily Mine in Mpumalanga for more than five years, have vowed to continue camping at the mine until the remains of their loved ones are retrieved. The families held a night vigil on Monday to mark 1 000 days of camping outside the mine.

It’s almost three years since the families have been camping outside the Lily Mine at Louisville near Barberton in Mpumalanga. They want the remains of their loved ones to be retrieved and brought to the surface.

Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyerenda were working inside a container that was buried when the mine collapsed in February 2016. The families set up camp in April 2019 in protest against what they say is the mine management’s unwillingness to retrieve the remains of the three. Some of mine workers and relatives says government must intervene.

Meanwhile, Fred Arendse, the CEO of the Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation Silver (SSC) Group – potential investors in the mine, says they are ready to begin digging to retrieve the container. He says funding and plans are available for the project.

“We have spent R11 million on an external company, one of the large technically companies to do an independent plan in redeveloping the mine and also retrieve the container and according to this schedule, it would take about  between seven and nine months to develop the access decline. So we taking less than a year to be able to get to level 5 to search for the container. And we have the plan ready, we have the funding ready and we have people ready  unfortunately it is the business rescue practitioners and vantage management that prevent us,” says Arendse.

ActionSA leader, Herman Mashaba, has sent a strong message to Lily Mine management, Business Rescue Practitioners and the government that justice will prevail. ActionSA has been supporting the families in their quest for answers.

“One message I really want our government, the owners of this mine, business rescue practitioners, I want them to really know very clear message. Yes we want the container to come out so that the families see closure for the burial of their loved one but is not going to be the end. We would make sure that we put the government responsible to ensure that they pursue criminal charges against everyone who played a role in hiding this matter and ensuring that the families have suffered the last six years,” says Herman Mashaba.

Judgment has been reserved in the inquest inquiry into the tragedy held in the Nelspruit Regional Court last week.

VIDEO: Lily Mine Tragedy – Arqomanzi ready to retrieve workers’ remains, re-develop mine: Neil Herrick