Lily Mine families seek closure and burials

It has been six years since the Lily Mine tragedy in Barberton, in which a container with three workers sunk into the ground when the mine collapsed.

The families of the three men trapped inside a container during the Lily Mine tragedy nearby Barberton are still waiting for answers regarding their loved ones.

Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyarenda, were trapped underground when Lily Mine collapsed on February 5, 2016, leaving some 100 workers injured. Their families said all they wanted was answers, so that they could find closure.

Sifiso Nkambule said the family was still trying to come to terms with the reality that they may never get to see their loved ones.

“It is very painful. My sister left behind four children. All we want is to give her a proper burial and finally make peace with everything. It is impossible to plan for her funeral without her body. This year marks six years since the incident, and it is hard as a family to find closure. We feel like our government has neglected us, just like how the mine has failed us,” said Nkambule.

He said when the incident had occurred, Pretty’s child was just five months old – she is six years old today.

“We don’t have answers to give her children, and this is just too painful for us,” said Nkambule. Speaking on behalf of the other families, Harry Mazibuko, who served as a health and safety officer at Lily Mine, said they only wanted government to help them retrieve their colleagues trapped underground.

“In 2017, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy held an enquiry, and the findings were that the Lily Mine had collapsed due to negligence. All we need is our missing colleagues to be found. We don’t need any gold; we know that we are not part of the business. If they are no more, we must have their bodies so that we may bury them with dignity,” Mazibuko said.

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