Saturday, 24 September 2022 will mark 1239 days since the affected Lily Mine families set up camp outside Lily Mine in protest against mine management who have proved unwilling to have the remains of the Lily Mine Three retrieved from underground. To mark the 1239 days, the families will hold a prayer session from 08h00 on Saturday until 09h00, an occasion I will not miss.
Since the collapse of the Lily Mine, resulting in the deaths of Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyirende, these families have been unable to find closure since this terrible tragedy occurred in February 2016. The aggrieved families have been camping outside the mine since 2019 in poor and unsafe living conditions in a desperate plight to bring attention to their cause- both to find closure and to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones.
ActionSA is calling for the Government of Cyril Ramaphosa for the re-establishment of the ground operations at the mine that would assist in the retrieval of the bodies of Ms Mnisi, Ms Nkambule and Mr Nyirende, by considering the establishment of a new decline access point. Ex-employees and community members continuously attempt to retrieve the bodies on their own which is incredibly unsafe and may lead to further loss of life.
On 24 August 2022, ActionSA wrote to the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to expedite the hearing of the case of the Mnisi, Nkambule and Nyirende families. It has been over 6 and a half years since this tragedy. ActionSA’s legal team has specifically requested the Court to issue directives to allow for shortened periods for the lodgement of the record, delivery of heads of argument, practice notes and certificates.
Since the beginning of ActionSA’s involvement in this matter, we committed to keeping the story of Lily Mine alive in the minds of the South African public. We have procured legal services to help in the families’ fight to compel the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE) to hold mine management to be accountable.
We have written numerous statements, attended countless meetings together with the affected families and mine management as well as national government officials, all in the hope that we will, through all these interactions edge closer to the day when the lamp room container trapped underground will be retrieved.
Still, the DMRE’s deafening silence continues. Nonetheless and no matter how long it takes, we will not be deterred in our efforts to have mine management be held accountable for this tragedy because like all our lives, the lives of the Lily Mine families and former miners matter too.
We invite all South Africans to join us in remembering the Lily Mine Three who gave of their lives in service of this country’s economy and to feed their families.