Former Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says he will assist Lily Mine families in forcing the government to retrieve their loved ones’ bodies.
Mashaba resigned as mayor in October over Helen Zille’s appointment as the head of the DA’s Federal Council. On Wednesday Mashaba held a press briefing in Rosebank with family members to announce that he enlisted attorneys to help retrieve the remains of the three miners.
The bodies of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda have been underground since February 2016, when the container they were working in as a lamp-room, was swallowed after the ground caved in. On Wednesday Mashaba met with the family members and offered to assist them in dragging the government to court to force them to retrieve the bodies. Mashaba says the attorneys will also demand compensation for the family and former workers
“As much as we’d really like to get this container retrieved as a matter of urgency I think it is normal practice when you’ve had people endure such pain, I guess no one can doubt that they deserve compensation. It would not be unfair for our legal team to demand – not ask – demand compensation“.
There is currently a court order prohibiting the families from going underground.
On why Mashaba is only entering the Lily Mine fray now, Beaumont said:
“Since his resignation as mayor, Mashaba has been going around the country listening to people. Through these dialogues, the mineworkers’ families engaged him and asked for assistance.”
In a press statement, the former mayor said he believed there was an unethical relationship between the mining company and the government.
“This is the only explanation for the obstruction and intimidation that has been experienced by this community over the past four years,” Mashaba said.
He said the party wanted to ensure that the families are also paid the outstanding salaries. Sifiso Mavuso, Nkambule’s brother, said they have been failed by the government and their lives are being threatened.
“Our leaders are selling us out because of they more interested in money. When our government has to help people our government starts playing mind games. If our government is failing to help us they must tell us so that we can ask intervention from the international community. Our government has been able to help victims of cyclones in Mozambique. Why can’t they help us here? The English saying says charity begins at home.”