Vantage Seeks to Take Further Advantage of the Lily Mine Families by Filing Spurious Leave to Appeal

ActionSA has just received the disconcerting but unsurprising news that Vantage has – on the last possible day available to do so – filed leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.  To grant them such leave would constitute an absurd and untenable state of affairs.

On 27 June 2023, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) finally released their long-awaited judgment, where Vantage Goldfield’s appeal was dismissed with costs. The Court ruled Vantage’s appeal to be “factually incorrect,” and that allegations they made in law were an “absurdity.” This matter was an appeal from the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal was damning in its remarks when dismissing the appeal, stating that the appellants advanced no argument as to why the High Court was incorrect in granting its initial order.

It is not evident that Vantage would succeed in a higher court. They appear to be playing for time and delaying the inevitable: the ultimate resolution of this matter is the cause of justice and human rights.

ActionSA has always maintained that re-establishment of the mining operations through which a new decline access could be developed would assist in the retrieval of the bodies of Ms Mnisi, Ms Nkambule and Mr Nyirenda.

An entity called Arqomanzi is a creditor and is the only organisation to have proposed to retrieve the container as part of restarting the operations of the mine, by means of a Business Rescue Plan.

The statutory report of the business rescue practitioner explicitly states that the appeal matter in which Vantage Goldfields was the appellant, was the only matter preventing the conclusion of the business rescue proceedings.

The Business Rescue Plan must be voted on with urgency so that the Mnisi, Nkambule and Nyirenda families will at long last be able to obtain the closure and peace for which they have waited for far too long.  We, as ActionSA, continue to be at the side of the families through this relentless battle. We will never give up the cause of justice.

This Business Rescue Plan must be voted on by creditors with the utmost urgency, to ensure closure and dignity for the Lily Mine families.

The general trend in this matter has been one of cost orders being granted to those who have caused unnecessary delays. Vantage is only causing more trauma, indignity and hardship to the Lily Mine families. Clearly, they have not learnt their lesson. We urge the court to reject their desperate leave to appeal as the cowardly delaying tactic that it is, with an order that Vantage be held liable for the legal costs of all parties.

Surely, our courts must take a dim view of this abuse of process.

The ongoing silence of the national government and in particular the silence of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, in this matter, is deafening and is an indication of the lack of respect and compassion that the ANC has for these families, and by extension, the people of South Africa.

We call on the Minister to use all resources at his Department’s disposal to bring an end to this madness and assist in retrieving the bodies of the victims. We expect such a call to fall on deaf ears – such as has been the record of the ANC’s failures in government – but we nevertheless make the call in the interests of what is fair, moral and just.

The families of the Lily Mine families have felt bereft and traumatised by the ongoing and unnecessary delays caused by Vantage Goldfields. We absolutely reject the reckless abandon with which Vantage is intent on causing more indignity and humiliation to the Lily Mine families. We reject the government turning a blind eye to the plight of the Lily Mine families and we reiterate that ActionSA will never leave the Lily Mine families behind.