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Workers at the Assmang factory in Cato Ridge are still waiting to hear whether their company will be prosecuted for culpable homicide and other criminal charges, almost five months after Justice Minister Jeff Radebe promised a decision on the matter.
Assmang is owned jointly by the Assore group and by mining tycoon Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals group.
The decision on whether to charge the company with culpable homicide relates to the death of six workers in a furnace explosion at Assmang in February 2008, along with other criminal charges connected to several cases of “manganese madness” disease in factory workers.
A year-long public inquiry was concluded in November 2008, but the Labour Department’s final report was never released. Earlier this year, in response to questions by DA MP Gareth Morgan, Radebe promised that the National Prosecuting Authority would reach a decision on the matter before March 31. Radebe attributed some of the delays to the disappearance of certain documents from the inquiry into Assmang.
In April, NPA regional spokesman Natasha Ramkisson said the “missing” box of documents had been reconstructed.
“We will now have to go through this information before taking a decision on whether to prosecute or not,” she said in response to queries from The Mercury four months ago.
Ramkisson did not respond to further e-mail queries yesterday on when the final decision would be taken.