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Lily Mine tragedy: Zwane pledges support after plea for help

Feb 13 2017 18:56

Cape Town - The government is committed to working with Lily Mine to retrieve the container in which Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda fell to their deaths, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said.

Zwane and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza on Monday met with the families of the three trapped workers, mine employees and management of the mine, the Department of Mineral Resources said on Monday in a statement.

This after mine workers and families protested at the Mpumalanga African National Congress (ANC) Lekgotla in Mbombela over the weekend.

Of the initial group of 79 workers trapped underground a year ago, the company was able to rescue 76.

However, efforts to recover the three bodies from the container which sunk underground stalled last year when mine officials said the operation was unsafe for rescuers.

WATCH: One year on: Lily Mine disaster

Last week Parliament’s mineral resources committee heard that it’s been a struggle to raise the R200m needed to re-open the mine in Barberton.

The meeting on Monday was to receive feedback from the mine’s management on progress made in securing funding to develop a decline for retrieval of the container and to compensate the affected families and mineworkers.

"The company indicated that the mine was in talks with possible investors who have shown interest."

Zwane and Mabuza committed to engage neighbouring mining companies in an effort to negotiate that some Lily Mine and Barbrook employees be employed. The department noted that 10 job opportunities have already been secured.

It added that the Mpumalanga Provincial Government also committed to provide food parcels to the affected families.

READ: Lily mine accident: Law must take its course, says Zwane

Zwane came under heavy criticism for his handling of the Lily mine matter. Cosatu claimed the minister had made promises that he failed to keep. 

According to Cosatu, a number of workers were promised alternative employment and others were promised payments, “but nothing has happened since those promises were made,” Cosatu said.

However, at the Mining Indaba, which took place in Cape Town last week, Zwane, was adamant that the holding company, Vantage Goldfields, and its business rescue practitioner remain liable for the payment of R200 000 each to the families of the victims, and R50 000 each to the rescued employees.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

lily mine  |  mosebenzi zwane  |  mining
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