President Joseph Mathunjwa spend the whole night underground assisting in the search for the trapped miners at Lily Mine in Barberton Mpumalanga

AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa spent the whole night underground on the 9th of February and only came out at 6:15am on 10th February. The President went underground to assist the rescue team in their search for the three trapped miners at the Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga.

“The long wait without knowing what is happening was killing me and the families, so I decided to go underground to witness what is happening and also to see if there is any developments made by the rescue team,” said Joseph Mathunjwa.

The President said this is horrendous as it is the 6th day that the 3 miners went missing when the lamp room container they were in fell underground into a sinkhole during a collapse of a shaft. The Rescue teams have been working around the clock in a race against time to reach and save the 3 trapped miners.

“Human body needs oxygen, food and water to survive and the longer they remain trapped the slimmer the chances of them being found alive,” said Mathunjwa.

Majority of mine workers are bread winners and also provide for their families back home. The thought of your loved ones going to work knowing that they might not come back home is petrifying.

The President said, “We are still continuing to have faith and praying together with the families and community members for our loved ones survival. One life lost is too many, therefore mining companies really need to prioritise safety of their workers. We cannot continue to lose lives because of accidents caused by negligence and mining company’s non-compliance to health and safety.”

The rescue team were able to break the rock that was blocking the entrance to the container room where the miners are trapped. They are currently busy taking out tons of rubble and hopefully they will be able to fi nd and save the 3 trapped miners soon.

For further inquiries please contact AMCU National Coordinator for

Gabriel Nkosi

Health and Safety | on 079 702 4421

Download: lily mine statement


  • a thought by Maria Du Toit

    It is the first time ever that I have read of a union president getting involved as the President of AMCU did. It shows his and the union’s personal commitment and emotional care for their members. I am sure it means a lot to the families and friends of the trapped miners. If you need my help, please contact me, I am an attorney in Pretoria. I am offering my services free of charge.


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