Husband of trapped Lily Mine worker: Black lives don't matter

2016-04-01 07:55
Anxious family members wait outside Lily Mine in Mpumalanga (News24 Correspondent)

Anxious family members wait outside Lily Mine in Mpumalanga (News24 Correspondent)

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Barberton – A man whose wife was trapped along with two other mineworkers at Lily Mine outside Barberton in Mpumalanga says life has been miserable without the mother of their four children.

Christopher Nkambule, 38, husband to Pretty Nkambule, said since the tragedy, they have struggled to get by.

Pretty Nkambule, Solomon Nyarenda and Yvonne Mnisi were trapped in a lamp room container underground almost two months ago. Efforts to rescue them have since been suspended for six months.

“I don’t believe that black lives matter. My wife left me with four kids and you can imagine the pain of asking about their mother every day," said Nkambule.

Nkambule added that he also works at Lily Mine and that mineworkers no longer feel safe.

"The tragedy proved that as workers our lives don’t matter; they only matter when we are able to go to work and produce money, but when we are in trouble the management sits back. This is very painful. This tragedy has left me broken, but I have given my hope unto God to take care of the rest,” he said.

He explained that he needed closure, but it seemed like the situation was getting worse every day.

Hope fading away

"Hope is fading away. My wife’s five years of working in the mine has ended in her being trapped deep in the mine. It is very sad for me and my kids. I don’t even know what to tell my kids about what happened to their mother. I am emotionally drained,” he said.

Nkambule believes that there must be something that can be done to rescue them. "It even hurts more that the news has calmed down as if they have forgotten about them," said Nkambule.

In February, News24 reported Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane as saying everything was being done to rescue the trio.

''We are interested in a mission that will get the container out, with the people, whether living or not living,'' Zwane said at the time after he and his department briefed Parliament's portfolio committee on mineral resources in Cape Town.

Lampsman Nyerende and lamproom assistants, Mnisi and Nkambule, have been trapped under about 80m of rock since part of the mine collapsed on February 5.

They were in a shipping container used as a lamp room on the surface when a central, or crown pillar, collapsed around level four of the mine. The container disappeared into the resulting sinkhole.

Seventy-five miners who were underground at the time were rescued through a ventilation shaft less than one metre wide. Two subsequent ground collapses, on February 13 and 14, forced rescuers to put on hold efforts to get the three out.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  mining  |  lily mine collapse

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