The families of the three Lily Mine victims have granted ActionSA power of attorney to pursue criminal and civil litigation.
Yesterday, the families of Solomon Nyirenda, Pretty Nkambule and Yvonne Mnisi - who were engulfed by a sinkhole at Lily Mine in February 2016, gave the party the green light to pursue further legal action against those liable for the tragedy and ensure that the business rescue procedures are implemented as determined by the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court.
Following last week’s Constitutional Court ruling and Magistrate’s Court inquest judgment, the party said it will use the Power of Attorney to pursue civil and criminal litigation concurrently.
The inquest found that owners failed to conduct proper risk assessments, leading to the tragic death of the miners.
The court found that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMR) and police failed to deal with illegal mining in the area.
In addition, it found that Lily Mine management failed to ensure the safety of its employees.
For the past seven years, ActionSA has supported the families whose requests for aid from the national government and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe have been ignored. The family have been let down time and time again by obstinate and drawn-out legal proceedings.
“ActionSA believes the steps taken, yesterday, will not only ensure that the bodies are retrieved, but also that the families are fairly compensated for the impact the tragedy had on their community,” said ActionSA president Herman Mashaba.
He said, as a party which values social justice, they will now use the Power of Attorney to achieve the following: “Ensure that the amended Business Rescue Plan is voted on within 14 days of the Constitutional Court ruling. The plan stipulates that mining operations at Lily Mine resume, and a new shaft be dug which would help retrieve the three miners’ bodies.
“Write to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the plans to pursue prosecution instituting any against those the courts have found liable for the tragedy. If they do not institute charges, ActionSA will approach the NPA to get nolle prosequi to possibly launch its own private prosecution.
“Launch civil action to ensure that the families of the three miners are fairly compensated for the impact the tragedy has had on them for more than 7 years.”
Mashaba said these steps follow last week's Constitutional Court ruling refusal to grant Vantage Goldfield’s leave to appeal a ruling which determined that the adopted Business Rescue Plan and amendments thereto should be submitted to creditors for a decision and the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court inquest which determined that the mine owners, the South African Police Service and Department of Minerals and Energy are to blame for the tragedy.
“ActionSA is grateful for the role the South African judiciary has played in this regard to protect the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable and ensure that the culprits are held responsible. We remain resolute in our commitment to help retrieve the bodies of the three miners and will continue to assist the families in any way possible. We cannot allow people to forget what happened at Lily Mine on 5 February 2016, and we need to ensure justice for the miners and their families,” Mashaba said.