COSATU Mpumalanga is shocked by the court judgement on the Lilly Mine inquest

23 October 2023

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Mpumalanga is deeply shocked by the findings and judgement on the Lily Mine inquest.

According to the judgement as declared by Magistrate Annemarie Van Der Merwe, the South African Police Service and the Department of Minerals, Resources and Energy failed in their constitutional duty to protect the public and the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.  Lily Mine managers were also found guilty of ignoring warnings presented by a geologist.  

The Lilly Mine disaster occurred in 2016 when a crown pillar collapsed and caused the death of three mineworkers – Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirende. Their bodies remain trapped underground, seven years later. It is appalling that these state institutions’ failure to exercise their duties, led to this tragic loss of life.

COSATU has repeatedly called for the adherence of statutory health and safety standards in all workplaces and further pleaded for law enforcement to prevail in eradicating criminal elements and illicit crime syndicates in mines to ensure stability and safety for all.

Considering the above findings, COSATU is deeply disheartened by the manner in which gross negligence and crime has adversely affected not only the families of the deceased workers, but also the communities in general and how it has led to widespread poverty and unemployment in Louwville.

The Federation has been at the forefront of the calls for justice and that proper law enforcement must prevail for the victims and workers. 

The court judgement has brought a sigh of relief with the hope that justice will prevail and that proper compensation for all the affected is provided.  

We further call for proper criminal investigations and urge the National Prosecuting Authority as instructed by the court prosecute those accountable. A long-lasting solution is also needed to address illicit mining and compliance to health and safety regulations.

Lastly, COSATU is also calling for the urgent reparation for the victims and the reopening of the mine towards ensuring the sustenance of the families and affected workers.          

Issued by COSATU Mpumalanga

For more information, please contact:

Thabo Mokoena (Provincial Secretary)
Mobile: 073 750 2041