ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has hinted at yet another possible legal action against Lily Mine in a bid to retrieve the bodies of the three miners who died eight years ago, on February 5, 2016.
Speaking at an event in Barberton, Mpumalanga held to commemorate the deaths of three mine workers – Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule, and Solomon Nyirenda – who have remained entombed underground for eight years – Mashaba said he had consulted his lawyers on the next move to be taken against the mine.
“Of course I can’t reveal at this stage what will be our next step. However, I have been speaking to the lawyers and we will be in a position to announce what legal steps we will be taking in the next few days,” Mashaba said.
On Monday, Mashaba and other party members commemorated the eight years since the Lily Mine tragedy through a prayer service outside the mine with the victims’ families and the community.
Mashaba said he had promised the families of the three miners that the ninth anniversary would yield positive results and the miners’ bodies would be retrieved.
“I told the families that I hope we are not going to have the ninth anniversary (without retrieving the container). I hope in February 2025, we are going to unveil the tombstones of the three family members,” Mashaba said.
Mashaba said if it was not for ActionSA, the matter would have long been forgotten as the government and mine owners did not care about the lives of the miners and their families.
“Ever since I visited the mine in 2020 where the victims’ families camped outside at the mine, I have vowed to bring justice to the families by ensuring that the mine shaft be reopened to retrieve the container in which the three victims were entombed, securing compensation for the families of the affected miners, and ensuring that those who are liable for the tragedy are criminally prosecuted,” he said.
He said the families of the miners deserved justice and for their members to be given a proper burial.
“We cannot become numb to the pain and suffering of those around us.
“It continues to break my heart that after so many years, the families and the community have still not received justice despite court judgments such as the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court inquest in mid-October last year which confirmed that individuals should be criminally prosecuted, including our government – in particular the Department of Minerals and Energy – which was found reluctant to intervene,” he said.
Mashaba said the party was disappointed with the NPA who had not proceeded with criminally prosecuting those responsible.
“In this regard, ActionSA remains extremely disappointed that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Mpumalanga has failed to decide whether it will criminally prosecute those liable for the Lily Mine tragedy of February 2016, despite promising to do so by the end of January 2024. It is the failure of our prosecuting authority to prosecute those guilty of a crime that contributes to the rise of lawlessness in South Africa.”