JOHANNESBURG – Protesters have issued an ultimatum to Lily Mine management over the recovery of trapped mine workers.
They say if the three trapped workers are not recovered in three days, the Barberton mine must be permanently shut down.
Union members marched to the gates of Lily Mine with a set of demands.
The families, who have had to wait while their loved ones were trapped for over 128 days, have the support of the National Union of Mineworkers.
The union is accusing the mine’s management of not doing enough to bring closure to the families.
Cosatu gave its backing to the march. The labour federation says the missing workers have been failed at the highest level.
However, the march quickly became an ANC election rally – a move that angered grieving family members.
“Don’t come here and canvass vote at our expense because we are mourning, this pains me deeply, this means this government is assisting us in a wrong way, this is not the time to be electioneering,” said a father of one of the trapped workers, Elmon Mnisi.
Earlier attempts to reach the missing workers failed.
Lily Mine says financial challenges are holding up the recovery efforts.
Manager at the mine Bongani Rantho said, ” A new access decline or entrance needs to be developed and this will cost in the region of 200million rand taking approximately 6-8 months to complete, during this time no good production will take place.”
The gold mine has been declared dangerous and remains closed.