Food parcels and jobs for Barberton community affected by Lily Mine tragedy

2017-02-14 17:03
Community members at a meeting between mine management, Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Mpumalanga Premier, David Mabuza, and families affected by the Lily Mine disaster. (Supplied)

Community members at a meeting between mine management, Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Mpumalanga Premier, David Mabuza, and families affected by the Lily Mine disaster. (Supplied)

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One year on: Lily Mine disaster

2017-02-05 08:01

Sunday marks one year since the collapse at Lily Mine near Barbeton in Mpumalanga.WATCH

Johannesburg – Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has committed to providing jobs to residents of Barberton following a meeting with the families of the three trapped Lily Mine workers on Monday.

"The provincial government would be assisting the families in the form of work. The provincial government will be building Reconstruction and Development Programme [RDP] houses in the city of Mbombela, and we want all the work to be done by locals," said Zibonele Mncgwango, spokesperson for Mabuza.

The provincial government is due to build RDP houses in the former Umjindi area, which is now part of the City of Mbombela after it merged.

The premier's office said he has specifically set aside jobs for those who were affected by the Lily Mine tragedy.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane also met with the families, community members and mine management on Monday. Mabuza asked the community to give him the opportunity to address the frustrations they had raised.

"The objective of the meeting was to receive feedback from the mine's management on progress made in securing funding that will enable the mine to compensate the affected families and mineworkers, as well as to develop a decline for retrieval of the container," said Zwane in a statement.

Due to financial constraints, the mine is still negotiating with potential investors to source enough funds to be able to go underground and retrieve the bodies.

Cost cutting

Solomon Nyirende, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule were in a shipping container above ground in February last year when an underground supporting pillar collapsed and the container was buried under tons of rock and soil. The rescue operations were indefinitely halted last year. The bodies have not yet been retrieved from the mine, much to the distress of the families and community members.

The mine has also retrenched staff members in an effort to cut costs. Some former employees say that they have not been paid since October 2016.

Zwane and Mabuza promised to engage neighbouring mining companies about employing some mineworkers from Lily Mine and the neighbouring Barbrook Mine.

The Mpumalanga government will provide food parcels to the affected families and jobs to local residents while they wait for the minister and the mine to finalise other "processes".

But some community members expressed their frustration at how long it takes to get information from authorities, as well as at the number of empty promises they have received from various government officials and mine management.

"The premier calls for calm and patience, especially from the families. He understands their pain, their pain is his pain," said Mncgwango.

Zwane said government remains committed to working with the mine in retrieving the container as this will bring closure to the families of the three workers.

AMCU representatives and mine management could not immediately be reached for comment. Solidarity trade union said it would respond in due course.

Read more on:    mosebenzi zwane  |  david mabuza  |  mbombela  |  lily mine collapse  |  mining

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