On 5 February 2016, the three miners were trapped underground in a container following a tremor that collapsed part of the mine, and whose remains are yet to be retrieved 5 years since the tragedy.
Following the incident with the police, several community members opposing the destruction of the structures were arrested. Harry Mazibuko, official spokesperson for the Lily Mine Families opened a case of unlawful arrest and forced removal.
Two years on, there is yet to be any progress regarding the case registered as police case number: 30/05/2019. To this end, our legal team will be assisting Harry and the families to write a letter of complaint to the Lows Creek Police Station Commander to open an investigation into the matter.
Furthermore, on 7 April 2021, ActionSA received reports of continuing harassment and intimidation of the protesting families when their settlement was burned down and destroyed by known assailants.
After a case of arson was opened, only one suspect, Kaizer Gwebu was arrested who he is now out on bail. Despite the police having indicated that Gwebu’s accomplices would be sought and arrested, no further arrests have been made to date. It is unclear whether the case continues to be under investigation.
After 5 years of asking, petitioning, and pleading for government support regarding their plea to have the container retrieved so that they may bury their loved ones with dignity, and to find closure for themselves as well as the children of the deceased, the families, and former miners, continue to be treated with disdain.
ActionSA remains committed to a private prosecution of the CEO of Vantage, Mike McChesney, for the role mine management played in disregarding the most basic legal requirements of mine-safety, and we continue to stand firmly behind the Lily Mine families in their pursuit of justice.