Blast inquiry goes on in secret

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The internal inquiry into the death of six workers at the Assmang factory in Cato Ridge outside Durban continued behind closed doors yesterday.

The workers died after a deadly blast at the factory at the weekend. Three workers remain in a critical condition in hospital.

Yesterday the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) said it would do everything possible to ensure it also took part in the inquiry into the deaths.

The union said the factory had a shocking safety record and that this was its third lethal explosion in three years.

Numsa secretary Petros Ngcobo said: "One worker died in December. There are still cases pending from 2005. We spoke to management about the safety issue but they never gave attention to our appeal."

The company said they would respond about the latest situation today.

Meshack Radebe, MEC for social development, told officials from his department to organise food for the affected families.

"We will help the families until they get death benefits. Most of the people who died were breadwinners," he said.

Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, a shareholder in Assmang, has demanded that the safety conditions of workers be improved.