ActionSA to Monitor Lily Mine Families’ Arson Case

On 7 April 2021, ActionSA received reports of the burning and destruction of the settlement outside of Lily Mine where the families of the three miners who are trapped in the container that fell almost 70 meters underground on 5 February 2016 have been camping.

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 find closure for themselves as well as the children of the deceased, the former miners, and families at Lily Mine continue to be treated with disdain.

We wish to place on record that threatening the lives of the protesting miners and their families cannot and will not be tolerated.

Furthermore, Mr. Harry Mazibuko, who the families have selected as their official family spokesperson, has been forced into hiding for fear for his life.

The events of 7 April, attest to this. These families have simply camped outside the mine peacefully in protest, and like every other citizen or group of people in South Africa, they have the right to do so, without fear of intimidation by mine management or anyone else for that matter. Our Constitution guarantees this right.

When the DMRE report of 2017 found mine management culpable for the collapse of the container, despite prior smaller collapses, which were not reported as required in law, mining continued without the necessary safety measures recommended by rock and engineering specialists, the families had renewed hope that progress would be made. However, this is not the case. 

Although Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Nkambule and Solomon Nyerende, along with the other former miners, knew the risks of their work, they could have never predicted that showing up for work that day would end with them buried alive by what has been found to be the criminally negligent greed of mine management.

Since the destruction of their settlement, only one suspect was arrested, one Mr. Kaizer Gwebu, who arrogantly recorded a voice note confirming his involvement in burning down the settlement alongside three other accomplices. Gwebu is now out on bail.

SAPS have informed our legal team that there will be imminent arrest of the three accomplices this week and that they will appear in court to answer for their involvement in this matter.

ActionSA wishes to thank the authorities for their cooperation in this regard. As partners for justice for the Lily Mine families, we will be watching this case closely and update the public as developments arise as this case is in the national interest.