Lily Mine: Families Request Legal Representation at Meeting with Minister Mantashe, Or Refuse to Attend

On behalf of the families of the Lily Mine victims, ActionSA has written to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy to request that their legal representatives be allowed to attend a stakeholder engagement planned by Minister Mantashe at Mbombela.

The families of the Lily Mine victims – who last year had already given me power of attorney to institute possible civil proceedings against those found guilty of the tragedy – have indicated that unless their legal representatives are allowed, they will not attend the stakeholder engagement.

It has been eight years since the Lily Mine tragedy took place on 5 February 2016 – and eight months since the Mbombela Magistrate’s Court found that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should consider criminal prosecutions against individuals, including officials of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), for the tragedy – but to date, justice for the families has still not been achieved. Instead, it is through the pressure of ActionSA and our lawyers that the department has been compelled to consult families.

It is therefore a wholly appropriate request by the families that their legal representatives be allowed to attend proceedings to ensure that their rights and best interests are protected when they have been disappointed so many times before. As ActionSA, we will not stop fighting the families of the Lily Mine victims to ensure that they receive justice for the tragedy which occurred.

Since being approached by the families in 2020 before ActionSA was launched, I have long worked to assist the families after they were failed by the ruling party. ActionSA has repeatedly engaged with the NPA, the DMRE and business rescue practitioners to reopen the mine, retrieve the victims’ bodies, prosecute those responsible for the tragedy and ensure just compensation for the families.

In this regard, after promising to make a decision on possible prosecutions in January, four months later the families still await word on whether the NPA would press charges. This is after the Business Rescue Practitioners failed to implement a business rescue plan which would restart operations after the Constitutional Court refused to grant Vantage Goldfield’s leave to appeal a ruling which determined that the adopted Business Rescue Plan and amendments to it should be submitted to creditors for a decision.

It is important to remind South Africans that Vantage Goldfield and the DMRE had previously lied to the Lily Mine Families about the retrievability of this container after its collapse. It took ActionSA, at a massive legal cost, to expose these lies.

ActionSA remains resolute in our commitment to help retrieve the bodies of the three miners and will continue to assist the families in any way possible. We cannot allow people to forget what happened at Lily Mine on 05 February 2016, and we need to ensure justice for the miners and their families.