It is a traumatic time for the friends, family and co-workers of the missing three, as they are very uncertain of what the future holds for them.
The relatives of Solomon Nyarende, Yvonne Mnisi and Pretty Nkambule – who remain trapped underground at Lily Mine in Barberton, believe the miners are still alive and are not losing hope.
Lucky Bothma, Nyarende’s brother-in-law, has been coming to the mine every day since the incident on February 5, Barberton Times reported.
He sits in the heat in front of the mine gate to support his partner, who is related to Nyarende, while she is inside with the other family members.
Bothma is also a miner, and after sitting at Lily Mine for the whole day, heads off to do night shift at the nearby Barbrook Mine. Bothma recalled the events of Sunday, when the third collapse occurred, subsequently halting all rescue operations for safety reasons.
He was inside the mine’s grounds at the time, praying for the three lost miners.
“We had just finished a church service. Five minutes later we heard a terrifying noise as rocks fell into the sinkhole. We were very scared.”
He explained that after that, family members prayed even harder than before since they believed that, if they stopped, more rocks would fall. Bothma has known Nyarende for many years and described him as a loving family man.
Koekie Maseko, a family friend of Nyarende, arrived at the mine on Sunday morning to support his family.
According to Maseko, she has faith that they will come out alive.
“Faith is the only thing we have, if we stop believing, nothing positive will come of this. It is very painful for all of us. We have never seen anything like this,” she said,
She explained that as part of their faith, they often fast for 21 days and survive and thus believed it is very possible for the three to survive for up to 21 days without food and water.
The site has been visited by two traditional leaders, Enock Malembe and Tikhontele Solomon Dlamini – chief of the Lomshiyo Traditional Council.
Dlamini blamed the incident on the fact that the mine was never formally introduced to “the ancestors”.
He said he had pleaded with mine management in 2012 to have a ritual performed to introduce the mine to the ancestors, but it was never done.
“We were worried because people were getting injured and we feared that the ancestors might have been unhappy about the mine.”
– Caxton News Service