Shortly after 8am on February 5, 2016, a tragedy engulfed Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga.
To mark the eighth anniversary of the tragedy on Monday, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba reiterated his call for those involved to face criminal charges.
Mashaba led his party on a prayer service at the mine on Monday to mark eight years since three employees were trapped underground.
The crown pillar located between the roof of level three and four underground collapsed. The lamp room container in which Solomon Nyirenda, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule were working was swallowed by the earth as the mine collapsed. Their remains have still not been retrieved.
After numerous delays, the inquest into the incident commenced in November 2021 at the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court.
It is worth noting that numerous rescue efforts were undertaken by the mine, and Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to try to rescue the missing persons. However, these were stopped as they proved to be dangerous due to the instability of the land.
A 2016 investigation by Lilly Mine owner Vantage Goldfield concluded that the reasons for the failure of the crown pillar could not be established due to its complexity.
Giving his evidence during the inquest, Mnisi’s father said the family was still waiting for her to return home.
This alone should remind all involved that it is our fellow human beings whose mortal remains lie inside a container in the bowels of the earth.
It just cannot be business as usual until Nyirenda, Mnisi and Nkambule have been given a dignified burial.
In this century, with the modern-day technology and all, there surely has to be something that can be done to ensure their bodies are returned to the families.