Exactly a year after the explosion that killed eight workers at Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in Somerset West, there is still no clarity on what happened. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Exactly a year after the explosion that killed eight workers at Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in Somerset West, there is still no clarity on what happened. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

A year later, and still no answers on Denel explosion that killed eight

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Sep 3, 2019

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Cape Town - Exactly a year after the explosion that killed eight workers at Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in Somerset West, there is still no clarity on what happened.

While it is on record that the Department of Labour concluded its investigation in June this year, the report has yet to be made public.

At the time, Western Cape provincial inspector David Esau said: “We can confirm that our investigation has been completed; we have submitted to our national inspector who will decide on whether prosecution will take place or not.”

However,  on Monday the department responded to enquiries about the long-awaited report.

“With reference to the enquiry, the department is prohibited to disclose the information about their investigation to any person, as per Section 36 of the OHSA, if it is not for proper administration of the act, the purpose of the administration of justice or the request by the health and safety representative of the involved organisation.”

Meanwhile, in answer to a query about the investigation, RDM public relations officer Ruby Maree said: “We are still awaiting the outcome of the investigations by the Department of Labour and the SAPS.

"RDM’s own investigation (with external support) to identify the root cause is also still ongoing.

“We will share all information and be transparent about all findings as soon as the final results are available.”

Chinaman Melani, provincial secretary of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union, said that despite the department having locked them out of the investigation, he had recently been tasked by the union's legal team in Johannesburg to follow-up on the matter and had heard through the grapevine that the department would be releasing its report “soon”.

Pastor Adrian Manuel, the clergyman who held a prayer service for the families of the eight workers killed in the explosion a year ago, has announced a remembrance service to be held today.

In a post on Facebook, Manuel said, “We will be holding a remembrance service with the families of the eight brave men who lost their lives in the Denel explosion.”

He said the Denel day of remembrance would be graced with dignitaries from provincial government, the City of Cape Town, spiritual leaders and guest artists.

The 8 Rheinmetall Denel Munition staff members who died in an explosion on the 3rd of September are remembered at the very same plant they died in. Crying in this photograph is a relative of Triston Davids. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA
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Cape Argus

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