Denel explosion: Public inquiry into blast that killed 8 resumes, 17 witnesses lined up

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Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in Macassar naby Somerset-Wes.   Foto: Jonathan Lestrade
Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in Macassar naby Somerset-Wes. Foto: Jonathan Lestrade
  • The second part of the public inquiry into the 2018 blast that occurred at the Rheinmetall Denel Munition started on Tuesday. 
  • Eight people were killed in the deadly explosion. 
  • Seventeen witnesses are expected to testify over the next few days.

A witness broke down during the second part of the public inquiry into the 2018 blast that killed eight people at the Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) plant in Macassar, which kicked off on Tuesday.

Edmunt Daniels, one of the team leaders at the mixing facilities who worked with the supervisor, Nico Samuels, told the inquiry that Samuels would never do anything to jeopardise the company or anyone's safety.

Samuels died in the explosion. His name came up several times in  the inquiry when previous witnesses testified that he had used his private vehicle to transport explosives.

Daniels broke down on Tuesday when he testified about Samuels' work ethic and character. 

He described Samuels as a "nice guy" who worked hard. The two of them worked together just a few days before the explosion.

READ | Denel explosion: Health and safety procedures at plant in spotlight

The legal representatives for Denel told Daniels they understood how hard the process had been for him and the families. 

"I know it often seems that we don't care but we do care. We care about this process and we want to get to the bottom of what happened that day," the legal representative said.  

Another witness, Vershan Govender, who was the acting head of the site, testified that nothing out of the ordinary happened on the day the explosion occurred.

"Everything was running well. There were no problems at the time," he said.

Govender said different products were made at the facilities and that he was unable to say what was produced in at the time of the explosion.

READ MORE | Denel explosion: Public inquiry into blast that killed 8 postponed

The inquiry is being spearheaded by the Department of Labour following mounting pressure from family members of the eight victims who died in the blast.

The first session was held in May, but the labour department was forced to postpone it to July because witnesses were not available.

It was postponed again earlier this year due to the Level 4 lockdown which President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 13 witnesses were cross-examined in May.

Over the next few days, 17 witnesses are lined up to give evidence.

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