Mpumalanga High Court Slams Lily Mine Business Rescue Practitioners

ActionSA notes that the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, has, yet again, slammed the business rescue practitioners’ conduct in delaying the business rescue process for Lily Mine – one that will see the mine return to operation and ensure the retrieval of the bodies of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda. 

In handing down judgment, Judge Legodi chastised the business rescue practitioners for ‘fiercely continuing to fight every piece of litigation ever launched by the Applicant (Arqomanzi Pty Ltd) in this Court.”

Whilst ActionSA has never focussed on which company is awarded the mine through the business rescue process, we have and continue to insist that matters be finalised in a timebound and deadline specific manner to ensure that the suffering of the Lily Mine families does not continue to drag on.

Despite the Court’s agreement with our position, the present set of legal proceedings continues to render the business rescue proceedings incomplete and thus creates a further delay on the eventual re-opening of the mine and retrieval of the container which currently entraps the bodies of the Lily Mine Three.

This remains an injustice to the miners and families of those who have suffered as a result of the Lily Mine tragedy. 

The present wrangling started on 5 February 2016 when Lily Mine, owned by Makonjwaan Imperial Mining Company Pty Ltd (MIMCO), collapsed with the three employees trapped in a lamp-room container that left a sinkhole adjacent to the main entrance of the mine. To date, the presumed bodies of the three miners have yet to be recovered.

The collapse led to the eventual shut down of the mine as it was considered inoperable and unable to meet its financial obligations. 

As a result, MIMCO (as a major shareholder), and its related companies, Vantage Goldfields Pty Ltd and Barbrook Mines Pty Ltd, all suffered financial woes when Lily Mine collapsed due to the commercial structure of their interaction. 

This ultimately led to the mine being placed under business rescue. Following various unsuccessful bids to rescue the mine, Arqomanzi Pty Ltd, brought a court application against MIMCO et al, as well as the business rescue practitioners, to have the business rescue process progress.

Despite the continued wrestling amongst the parties to the Lily Mine business rescue process, the families of the trapped miners who have been camping outside the mine for over 900 days still have hope and are determined to fight for justice for their loved ones. 

So too, is ActionSA. We will never relent until the remains of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda are returned to their families so they may be buried with dignity. No amount of derailing and misusing legal instruments to avoid being held criminally liable for their deaths will deter us from realising that goal.

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