Mashaba fights for Justice

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In a bid to force the government to release documents that justified the inability to retrace three miners who disappeared during an accident at Lilymine outside Barberton in Mpumalanga, former Johannesburg metro mayor, Herman Mashaba has subpoenaed government and other stakeholders. 

Three safety of officers, Solomon Nyerenda, Yvonne Mnisi, and Pretty Nkambule disappeared with a lamp room they were working on on the morning of February 5, 2016, when the mine collapsed. 

Other 76 miners who were on duty on the day,  were rescued through a shaft window on that morning. 

Rescue missing and recovery missions were abandoned after the mine management and the department of mineral resources found that the ground was unstable at the mine to continue searching and Lilymine also pleaded poverty and a business rescue practitioner was appointed. 

Mashaba who visited the mine early this year promised to fund legal costs to compel government and mine management to retrieve the bodies “whatever it costs”. 

On Sunday Mashaba announced that him and his team calling themselves “people’s dialogue” have managed to file papers to government and the mine management to release documents they led to the abandoning of the recovery mission for the three miners. 

“I am pleased to report that our legal team have lodged an application for the documents necessary to enjoin our government to retrieve the trapped miners at Lily Mine.

 The documents in question are the annexures that were used to substantiate a 2018 Health and Safety report which found that the container could not be retrieved.

 Similarly, a report from the Mine Rescue Services is also part of our application.” said Mashaba. 

Mashaba said he was shocked that the same mine rescue services that travelled to Chile in 2010 to be involved in the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners but decided to abandon the three South Africans. 

He also said they are made to be believe that there are politicians benefiting as the delay to retreats the three happens. 

“Once we are in possession of these documents, we will then be in a position to assess them and challenge the rationality of the decision behind declaring the container irretrievable.

Every matter relating to the efforts to obtain justice for the trapped miners and their families has been obstructed with, what appears to be, a concerted campaign to protect the interests of Vantage. Given the pattern of corruption in our country, I want this process to get to the bottom of who is benefitting politically.” said Mashaba. 

He said they are also open to take the case to an open court to force government to retreats the three miners. 

“However, should the same pattern of obstructionism emerge, we have the legal team to take this matter to an open court of law to expose the comprehensive and coordinated efforts, at all costs, to prevent that container being retrieved.” said Mashaba. 

“Justice matters, and it matters for the families of the 3 trapped miners. The families have been deprived proper burials of their loved ones. The families and former workers remain camped outside of the mine, while those responsible for the collapse live free and in comfort.” added Mashaba. 

Spokesperson of the former mine workers and families Harry Mazibuko told Commuter that they are pleased with what Mashaba is doing. 

“All the people who came here lied to us including government. We are happy that Mr.  Mashaba’s promises are coming to reality, that is what we need to have our colleagues retrieved and the mine opened because here we can see people are playing games with the lives of black people,” said Mazibuko. 

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