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Denel still unsure about the cause of Sunday’s fire, waiting for authorities to finish investigation

Rheinmetall Denel Munition plant in Somerset West where another explosion took place on Sunday evening. There were no reports of injuries. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Rheinmetall Denel Munition plant in Somerset West where another explosion took place on Sunday evening. There were no reports of injuries. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 3, 2021

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Cape Town - Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) factory management are still none the wiser about the cause of Sunday night’s fire, and awaiting results of preliminary investigations by the police and the Department of Employment and Labour.

At the same time RDM spokesperson Rubee Maree said they will only have an idea of how much the fire damage will cost them once the authorities have completed their investigation. The N86 magazine building where the incident occurred has been sealed off in the meantime.

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“It is then that we will be allowed access to the site to start our own investigation and to assess the damage and the impact on operations.

“At this stage, it appears that the building has sustained minor structural damage, to the roof and to the windows but it is still too early to quantify the extent and value of the damage sustained,” said Maree.

On Tuesday, a team from the department of employment and labour were on site but had not responded to the Cape Argus’ queries about their investigation.

RDM chief executive Jan-Patrick Helmsen said: “We are acutely aware that this incident has brought back painful memories for the families of those who passed away in September 2018. As such, we have made free counselling services available to those families and any RDM staff as needed.

“Safety, specifically the safety of our team and our wider community, remains our top priority and, to that end, we review all systems, buildings, procedures, and skills levels on a continual basis, both as a company and in conjunction with the department of employment and labour,” said Helmsen.

Helmsen was adamant that RDM continued to adhere to the strictest South African safety regulations and international standards, based on those of Europe and the United States.

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He said in addition to the required certifications, RDM was regularly audited and tested by third parties including the department of employment and labour, and the department of environmental affairs.

Trade union Uasa’s spokesperson Abigail Moyo said the union was demanding proof of qualified explosion and other managers in all Denel divisions overseeing projects that could result in a dangerous work environment for their members and workers in general.

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Related Topics:

DenelSAPSCape Town

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