Government completes inquiry into Lily mine disaster – Zwane

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CAPE TOWN, February 5 – South African minister of mines Mosebenzi Zwane said on Monday that government had completed its inquiry into the tragedy of Lily mine and that the report would now be handed over to the Department of Mineral Resources.

“The inquiry into the Lily Mine accident has been concluded, and a report will be submitted to the department in the next few weeks,” Zwane told delegates at the opening of the “Mining Indaba” in Cape Town

“We would all agree that closure and finality is critical on this matter, especially for the families of Miss Yvonne Mnisi, Miss Pretty Nkambule and Mr Solomon Nyerende.”

Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla on Monday said that the fact that the three workers were still trapped underground was disturbing.

Pamla said that those responsible for the tragedy should be held accountable.

“We still find it objectionable that these workers are yet to be repatriated and that no one has been held accountable for the accident. COSATU still calls for the prosecution of the responsible parties. We demand that those found responsible should be held accountable,” he said.

Pamla also accused mining companies of prioritising profits over workers. He called on mining companies to hire more inspectors to ensure that safety regulations are followed.

“Cosatu wants a clear message to be sent to the mining companies that they cannot just focus on profit maximisation and increased mechanisation of the sector, without paying serious attention to safety of the workers. The best way to send this message is for the responsible managers to be prosecuted and sent to prison,” Pamla added.

The bodies of Lily Mine workers Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule, and Solomon Nyirenda remain underground after a lamp room container in which they were working was swallowed up by the earth when a pillar collapsed at the mine on the morning of  5 February 2016.

Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Godfrey Oliphant said late last year that the container in which the workers were trapped was likely to be retrieved by January 2018.

 – African News Agency (ANA)