Mashaba gets legal ball rolling on retrieving bodies of trapped Lily mineworkers

Herman Mashaba is taking steps to see whether the bodies of the three Lily Mine workers who were swallowed in a rockfall back in 2016 can really not be retrieved. Stock photo.
Herman Mashaba is taking steps to see whether the bodies of the three Lily Mine workers who were swallowed in a rockfall back in 2016 can really not be retrieved. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Martin Bergsma

Former Johannesburg mayor and founder of the People's Dialogue party, Herman Mashaba, has requested access to a report on why the bodies of three mineworkers killed in a rockfall at Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga were not retrieved.

Lawyers for the People's Dialogue have written to the department of mineral resources & energy, asking to see its report on the failed rescue and recovery operation. If the report is not made available, Mashaba said he would go to court for access to it.

He wants to determine whether Lily Mine was rational in its move to abandon efforts to locate and retrieve the bodies of the mineworkers who have been buried at the mine since February 2016.

Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda died when the ground collapsed burying the container they were in after a rockfall at the mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga.

“I am pleased to report that our legal team have lodged an application for the documents necessary to enjoin our government to retrieve the trapped miners at Lily Mine,” Mashaba said in a statement on Sunday.

“The documents in question are the annexures that were used to substantiate a 2018 health and safety report which found that the container could not be retrieved.

“Similarly, a report from the mine rescue services is also part of our application. This is the same mine rescue services that travelled to Chile in 2010 to be involved in the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners,” he added.

“We are confident that government and the department of mineral resources & energy will respond favourably to our request given that pressure has been mounting since The People’s Dialogue has taken this matter on,” he added.

Should this not be the case, their legal team was willing to take the matter to court.

“Justice matters, and it matters for the families of the three trapped miners. The families have been deprived of proper burials of their loved ones. The families and former workers remain camped outside the mine, while those responsible for the collapse live free and in comfort,” Mashaba added.

“For all South Africans to be free, we have to know that our government cannot treat us like they have the families and former workers of Lily Mine. That can only happen when we come together as a nation and stand behind these brave men and women.”

TimesLIVE has reached out to Lily Mine for comment. This story will be updated once comment from the mine is received.


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