We want closure: Families of Esigodini trapped miners

By Dumisani Nyoni

FAMILIES of the six gold miners who are feared dead following a mine accident that occurred at Patridge Mine in Esigodini more than two weeks ago, say all they want is closure and have urged the government to do what it can to retrieve the bodies.

Government has, however, abandoned rescue efforts saying the mission is too risky.

The miners, four of them from one family, are trapped underground after a mine shaft they were working in collapsed after heavy rains pounded Matshetshe area in Matabeleland South on November 10, 2020.

The mine is reportedly owned by one Sakhile Ndlovu who, however, disowned it.

“They (government) are still quiet and as affected families it pains us a lot. It hurts. Our wish is for the government to come and assist us. We need closure and if we don’t get assistance, the wounds will never heal. The wounds will remain open forever,” Edith Tshabalala (63), whose family has four people trapped underground, said.

“Rescue team from the government said it’s impossible to retrieve the bodies but the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development said it’s possible. So which is which? Nkosilathi Ndlovu and Ndumiso are my nephews while Blessed Ncube and Christopher Dube are my grandchildren. It’s a tragedy,” she said.

Tshabalala said the way the owner of the mine handled the issue was a cause for concern.

“Due to the way she handled the issue, people are now suspecting that there could be many people trapped underground. She did not even bother to report the case to the police. She only removed her machinery from the mine including the compressor which the boys were using to drain water from the mine,” she said.

Mthwakazi Republic Party has sensationally claimed that there are about 10 miners trapped underground instead of six as reported.

It accused the government of paying a blind eye on the issue.

“They are still trapped underground for more than a week now, yet the government through its multiple departments including the police, have done nothing to help the grieving family members and the villagers at large,” it said in a recent statement.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development recently visited the mine on a fact-finding mission to establish what transpired and to come up with recommendations to deal with the situation.

The committee’s chairperson Edmond Mkaratigwa reportedly called on stakeholders to mobilise resources for the rescue operation to resume.

He called upon the government and the private sector to do whatever it takes to retrieve the bodies from the shaft so that families can find closure.

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