The final death toll from Monday’s explosion at Rheinmetall Denel Munition is still unconfirmed. Initial reports stated that at least eight people had lost their lives.
Family members of the victims gathered at the munitions plant Thursday for a briefing by officials from the weapons manufacturer.
The meeting was closed to the media and the families barred from speaking.
African National Congress (ANC) Councillor Rhoda Bazier says, “It was a presentation done by the CEO of Rheinmetall to show them what the building looked like before and this is the stature of the walls around the building and what the walls was like because is no more there.”
In a statement, the company says it wants to ensure the wellbeing of affected families. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille also attended the closed meeting and expressed her condolences to the bereaved families.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says, “I did interact with the families and they are absolutely devastated. Their loved ones go to work on a normal shift, doing routine work, and never came back. You can imagine how the families are feeling and it’s very hard to know what to say to people in that condition.”
Rheinmetall Denel Munition says the explosion at its Somerset West plant was likely caused by an ignition propellant known as gun-cotton.
The product is used as an ignition material for ammunition charge systems.
An investigation into the cause of the incident is underway. Results of DNA tests to identify the victims are expected soon.
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