Denel explosion: Public inquiry into blast that killed 8 postponed to July

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An inquiry into an explosion at a Denel facility has been postponed.
An inquiry into an explosion at a Denel facility has been postponed.
Reuters
  • The public inquiry into the 2018 blast at Rheinmetall Denel Munition has been postponed to July.
  • Several witnesses, who were subpoenaed to testify, did not arrive. 
  • The inquiry had been set down for this week, to probe the safety and health protocols at the plant.

The Department of Labour on Wednesday decided to postpone the public inquiry into the 2018 explosion at Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), in which eight people were killed. 

The chairperson of the inquiry, Mphumzi Dyulete, said witnesses were subpoenaed to appear and testify, but some did not respond.

"We have decided to conclude this session because of witnesses who can't make it. But this is not the end," he stressed. 

The inquiry said 27 witnesses were scheduled to testify up until Friday. 

According to RDM's legal representatives, they tried to track down the witnesses, but to no avail.

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

On Wednesday, after three hours of testimony, the inquiry was postponed until July.

During testimony, the inquiry again scrutinised the issue of a new valve, which was installed at the N16 facility shortly before the deadly blast.

The issue also came up during evidence led the previous day.

On Wednesday, the inquiry heard that workers had worked throughout the weekend to install the new valve, and were allegedly receiving pressure from the company.

Four witnesses testified, including the maintenance supervisor, Brent Bennet. He testified about the routine maintenance performed at the factory.

"There are routine checks on the various plants. We have job cards indicating when they were checked and who they were checked by."

He told the inquiry he was not aware the valve in question was going to be changed.

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