While ActionSA has never had a vested interest in who was ultimately successful in these proceedings, in our submissions on behalf of the families and former miners, we have maintained that any award made must be both time-bound and an order of court, so that any further delays could see the business rescue practitioner held in contempt. ActionSA’s legal team, acting on behalf of the families and former miners, made submissions detailing the obscene delays in the business rescue proceedings that began in 2018. Our submissions detailed the extent of human suffering and the denial of human rights to the former miners and families in terms of their ability to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones, trapped underground since February 2016.
Judge President Legodi recognised the human rights at the heart of this matter and was unkind to the business rescue practitioner for the delays that have taken place throughout this process.
We are particularly pleased that Judge President Legodi has accepted the remedies sought by our legal team. The ruling makes it an order of court that the business rescue processes, previously ruled upon in November 2019, must be concluded by 1 July 2021.
With this outcome, ActionSA will write to the business rescue practitioner and assure him of two very important facts. Firstly, if this deadline is not complied with, ActionSA will be in court at the first available date thereafter to hold him in contempt of court. Secondly, any further litigation to delay these proceedings will be opposed in the strongest terms.
ActionSA is uncompromising about the fact that the container bearing the bodies of Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyerende, and Pretty Nkambule must be retrieved, and their families given the chance to bury their remains. The outstanding wages owing to the former miners must be paid and the mine must be re-opened so that the former miners can have the dignity of work once again.
Beyond this, ActionSA is committed to justice in this matter.
This means the prosecution of mine management, as recommended in the DMRE Report of 2018, must proceed. ActionSA is currently engaging the NPA in this matter and is willing to pursue private prosecution on this matter if necessary.
We remain equally committed to justice being meted out to the convicted murderer, who was out on parole. Kaizer Gwebu presently stands accused of the arson and destruction of the temporary structures housing former miners and families at Lily Mine. Incidentally, this convicted murderer is also out on bail for another charge of fraud.
The people of Lily Mine, the former miners, and families, have been denied the dignity of burying their loved ones after an avoidable tragedy brought about by the greed of mine management and their disregard for the lives of their workers.
I, once again, ask all South Africans to celebrate this step closer to the great day when these South Africans receive their dignity and justice but to, simultaneously, to join us in our efforts to stand by these brave South Africans when their government failed them.