Lily Mine Workers' Day

Drama at Lilymine commemoration as community chase away people and mine owners gets angry and leave

Lily Mine former workers: ‘We have no reason to celebrate Workers’ Day

Ex-Lily Mine workers say Workers’ Day has no significance. After 5 years they are still waiting for the bodies of their trapped colleagues.

Lily Mine Workers' Day

Drama at Lilymine commemoration as community chase away people and mine owners gets angry and leave

The former employees of Lily Mine in Mpumalanga and families whose children’s bodies are still trapped underground say they have no reason to commemorate Workers’ Day.

30 April 2021 marked exactly 2 years since the families have camped outside the Lily Mine with the hope of getting assistance from the government and others to retrieve the bodies of their deceased loved ones who are still trapped in the mine.


In a statement, the former workers said their rights and dignity as people- as workers- seem to mean nothing to those in power, those who govern our country and those organisations which supposedly exist to stand up for their rights.

“1 May is International Workers Day, where we should be celebrating workers’ rights, and the critical role of trade unions and other labour organizations in the fight for democracy. The Lily Mine workers have nothing to celebrate on this day. Is this batho pele (people first)? Is this how we build South Africa together? Is this the better life for all?”

“Where’s our DMRE? Where’s our Union? If our leaders won’t help us, maybe our people will. We plead with all South Africans to stand with us to fight against the evil that is facing Lily Mine. Together we can conquer.”

Former Lily Mine workers

The official spokesperson for the former workers and affected families, Harry Mazibuko said that since their arrival at the mine on 30 April 2019 they have been calling for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to intervene and hear their cry.

“We have suffered humiliation, lies, empty promises and betrayal – not only from SA leadership, but from the leadership of our own Mine, Vantage management, as well as the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) who were tasked with bringing Lily Mine out of business
rescue back into operation, but instead are colluding with Vantage management to keep our children and colleagues buried, along with the evidence of their negligence and bad practices for which they would be called to account,” Mazibuko said.


  • 5 February 2016, a container at the mine entrance collapsed and three workers are trapped in it.
  • 30 May 2018, Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources, Thabo Mokoena briefs the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on progress at Lily Mine since the tragedy in 2016. “Mine might start operating this year.”
  • 30 May 2018, Business Rescue Practitioners secure a buyer and are currently acquiring the ownership of the mine.
  • 30 April 2019, Harry Mazibuko and affected families camp outside Lily Mine.
  • 5 February 2021 marks 5 years since the tragedy
  • 28 February 2021, Mpumalanga High Court issues interim court order to halt reopening of the mine
  • 29 March 2021, marks 700 days since the families have camped outside Lily Mine
  • 9 April 2021, the group’s camp is set alight and most of their belongings are destroyed
  • 14 April 2021, Arqomanzi and Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA help rebuild the camp
  • 30 April 2021, 2 full years since the families have camped outside Lily Mine

Since 2016, Vantage Goldfields and the BRP’s have introduced over 10 creditors. Currently, the families’ spokesperson, Mazibuko is in hiding after receiving death threats.