Lily Mine remembrance service postponed due to 'threats'

2017-02-03 08:41
Lily Mine (AFP)

Lily Mine (AFP)

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Johannesburg - Lily Mine has cancelled its Sunday remembrance service in honour of three mineworkers who died in a tragic mining accident last year.

On Thursday business rescue practitioner Rob Devereux said management, in consultation with the families of the three mineworkers, had agreed to postpone Sunday's service, saying a "blockade" had been planned to disrupt the ceremony.

Sunday marks the first anniversary of the disaster which shut down the gold mine and sent it into business rescue.

Devereux said: "There was an apolitical service planned at the site of the accident. It was supposed to be religious. But due to threats, we were told it was not safe to hold the service. We discussed it with the families and they agreed we should postpone it."

Workers have not been paid their salaries since last year and hopes of an investor saving the mine with a cash injection of R200 million are fading.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) boss Joseph Mathunjwa said the union had cancelled its plans to hold a memorial ceremony because the mine had already planned one.

"I don't know what happened," he said.

NUM hoping for bodies' recovery

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) earlier on Thursday said it would not be part of the service because there was nothing to commemorate since the bodies of the three mineworkers were still trapped underground.

"We have not lost hope that the miners should be rescued from underground. So what are we commemorating? Are we commemorating that those mineworkers are still trapped in the belly of the earth?

"The people who are organising this kind of event are unreasonable and they do not care. Shame unto them. We are not going to participate in this event," said Joseph Montisetse, NUM deputy president.

"We will make sure that those workers are rescued whether they are alive or dead. We believe that God is great. For now, we cannot speak about any commemoration and we are not going to be part of it."

Read more on:    lily mine  |  lily mine collapse  |  mining
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