Ekurhuleni’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Human Settlements Lesiba Mya says harsher punitive measures need to be taken against mining companies who sacrifice safety to boost profits.
Mya, who was handing over a house to the family of five-year-old Richard Thole – the boy who died in February 2017 after falling into an abandoned mine shaft in the Jerusalem informal settlement in Boksburg east of Johannesburg.
Mya says, “There has to be accountability on the death of Richard. Someone has to take the blame. Someone has to be accountable. However, there is mining activity that happens there and of course, some of the roles that also inform us as local government; there’s minimum roles that we have. So, we are calling on the national Department of Mineral Resources to actually rope in safety issues and safety measures in as far as mining activities are concerned.”
The boy’s mother Nombeko Thole says she still struggles to accept that her son is gone, and that despite intensive search effort, his body was never recovered.
Ekurhuleni says it hopes that Nombeko Thole will find consolation in her new RDP house.
“We have not forgotten about them, hence we prioritised a project. It is going to take not less than 3 500 people. That will mean in layman terms, that people will get an opportunity to own houses; to have a flushing toilet; to have property that is electrified. So, it means the lives of the people will change dramatically,” said Mya.