Macassar residents and families of workers in shock this week outside the Rheinmetall Denel Munition plant. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - It's time the Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) company moves to another location, Mayor Patricia de Lille urged at an emotional memorial service in Macassar for the eight workers who died in an explosion on Monday.

At a packed St Joseph the Worker Anglican Church on Thursday evening, the mayor was highly critical of the presence of a munition base in the midst of the Macassar community, Netwerk24 reported.

"I think it's time for Denel to once and for all move its plant away from our communities. Denel must move to where there are no people living. Denel must move and leave our communities in peace because the next time it will be the whole of Macassar that will be affected.

"It's not the first time the community has been affected by such a tragedy and it's not going to be the last," De Lille said.

Tears flowed freely when photos of the eight victims were projected onto a screen. While Denel has yet to officially reveal the identities of the workers who died, the families themselves have revealed their names.   

The DNA of family members had to be used to identify the remains of the deceased. The victims were Jamie Haydricks, 24; Bradley Tandy, 18; Steve Isaacs; Triston Davids; Nico Samuels, 41; Jason Hartzenberg, 21; Mxolisi Sigadla, 40; and Thando Mankayi, 25. 

Only six of the deceased's families attended the service in Macassar, while the other two families held a similar service in Lwandle.

Bishop Margaret Vertue prayed for workers countrywide who have to work long shifts under difficult circumstances. "We will forgive, but we aren't ready to do that yet," she said.

She appealed to Denel that as soon as they knew what the cause of the explosion was, to ensure that it never happens again.

Cape Times