Closure will come before compensation in Lily Mine inquiry, says family lawyer

Mine-workers who were employed at the now closed Lily Mine have detailed how events unfolded shortly before the mine collapsed in February 2016.

The miners were giving evidence in the public inquiry into last year’s collapse, which began on Monday.

Colleagues of those still trapped underground gave emotional testimony of the moment the container they were working in sunk deeper and deeper into the ground.

The inquiry is tasked with investigating the underlying causes of the accident, explains Richard Spoor, the lawyer representing bereaved families.

He advises that the aim is to determine what led to the tragic incident and how the bodies will be recovered.

Spoor says the inquiry is less about financial compensation and more about accountability and closure.

He has demanded the submission of supplementary documents mentioned by expert witnesses giving testimony.

Workers have limited recourse under South African law... It's about closure, accountability, learning from mistakes and ensuring it doesn't happen again.

Richard Spoor, Lawyer representing the families of the trapped Lily Mine workers

He says the documents could shed light on a history of structural instability at the mine and government's clearance of mining under the pit.

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