CEPPWAWU Statement on Rheinmetall Denel Munition Incident

On behalf of its entire membership nationwide CEPPWAWU National Office-Bearers send their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, the loved ones, friends and compatriots of the Comrades who lost their lives to the explosion that took place at Rheinmetall Denel Munition at Macassar, Somerset West.

Monday 3 September 2018 was a fateful day for employees of Rheinmetall Denel Munition, their families and the residents of Macassar outside Somerset West. The area was engulfed in a cloud of smoke. Shock and trepidation was visible in the faces of workers gathering at the safe areas. A heavy explosion that we later learnt that it claimed the lives of eight workers who were on shift at the Propelling and Blending plant had just occurred. This is the plant where chemicals needed for the manufacture of mortars, missiles and bombs are blended to specification.

It was still difficult to get what went wrong even on the next day when a union official from CEPPWAWU visited the site of the Company. Then it was known that CEPPWAWU had lost its Shopsteward who is also the Deputy Chairperson of the Union’s Bellville Local. The two workers who were part of the shift survived because they were absent from work.

The memorial services in honour of the fallen Comrades were held on Thursday evening, one in Macassar and another at Lwandle, Strand. COSATU played a leading role.

Investigations are afoot. The aim is to establish why the explosion happened. CEPPWAWU will meet the Labour Minister on Monday 10 September to seek participation in the investigation by the Department and sufficient redress for the bereaved families. CEPPWAWU also calls for transparency and openness such that all interested parties can partake in the investigations and for the reports to be made public, after all Rheinmetall Denel Munition is a parastatal.

Issued by CEPPWAWU Head Office

c/o The General Secretary

Comrade Welile Nolingo

Tel.: 010 206 6600

Cell: 076 280 4663