CAPE TOWN APRIL 11, 2017 (CISA)-The South Africa Catholic Bishop Conference (SACBC) has appealed to President Jacob Zuma to intervene for speedy retrieval of three mine workers trapped underground since February 5, 2016.
“The pain of the three families should be considered the pain of the nation. We therefore make an appeal to the president to make an intervention to ensure that the government contributes funds for the rescue operation of the container. This can be achieved effectively by declaration of Lily mine accident a national disaster,” the bishops said in a statement April 10.
They urged the government to handle the retrieval of the container in terms of ethical responsibility as opposed to resting responsibility to Mimco mining company.
“It has been argued that the retrieval of the container is the legal responsibility of the Lily Mine and not the government. We urge the president and the minister of mineral resources to view and handle the rescue operation of the container in terms of the ethical responsibility and not solely in terms of legal responsibilities of Mimco mining company,” the bishops said.
They further appealed to the investor community to consider additional funding to the process of the container retrieval.
The prelates cautioned the government and Lily mine against determining the possibility of the retrieval process in terms of cost noting that lives are more important that profits.
“The government and Lily mine should ensure the retrieval is not treated solely as a business decision that is dependent on economic merit of the proposed shaft and the business rescue plan. In a caring society, people are more important than profit,” they said.
The bishops termed the more than one-year wait by families towards their keens retrieval as ‘ethnically unacceptable’ and assured them that they stand with them in solidarity.
The three workers, Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza, and Solomon Nyarenda were trapped underground when the lamp room container they were working in fell into a sinkhole and was recovered by huge rocks.