17 May 2017

South Africa: Families of Trapped Lily Mine Workers Each Paid R200 000 - Labour Union

The families of the three trapped Lily Mine workers have each been paid a lump sum of R200 000.

Cosatu said in a statement on Wednesday that the families of Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyarenda and Yvonne Mnisi had received a lump sum payout.

Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the 75 injured miners each received R10 000. They were initially promised a payment of R50 000.

"We shall continue to work to support the fundraising efforts to raise money so that workers can receive the additional R40 000," Pamla said.

Pamla said they remained adamant that any company that takes over operations at Lily Mine will need to prioritise the recovery of the bodies of the trapped miners first.

"We also want to see the continuation of an investigation that will help determine the cause of the accident and we demand that those found responsible should be held accountable."

Nkambule, Nyarenda and Mnisi were in a lamp room housed in a shipping container on the surface of the coal mine, when an underground supporting pillar collapsed on February 5, 2016. The container was buried under about 60m of rock and soil.

Seventy miners were rescued via a ventilation shaft. Rescuers tried repeatedly to get to the three, trapped underground, but had to withdraw as more ground collapsed.

Mnisi's husband Shadrack lives in a house behind the local spaza shop in Louieville, Mpumalanga.

The father of two said the family had received money from the Chamber of Mines, Old Mutual and some international churches.

'I don't know what is happening'

However, Shadrack said he had not received the lump sum payment yet.

Nkumbule's 38-year-old husband Christopher said that some people had said that they had received the money on Friday, but he had not.

The couple's four children live with their grandmother.

"They said they gave it to the grannies and some of us would have to sign for it, but I don't know what is happening. But the money is apparently there," Christopher told News24 on Wednesday afternoon.

Nyarenda's family could not be reached for comment.

Pamla said the government needed to present tangible enforcement mechanisms and hire more inspectors to ensure that there was compliance in the mines.

"Mining companies cannot just focus on profit maximisation and increased mechanisation of the sector, without paying serious attention to job security, economic growth and access to educational, housing and other facilities for the mine workers."

News24

South Africa

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