RDM explosion inquiry resumes

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COVID-19 and its associated restrictions put a halt to the inquiry into the September 2018 explosion at Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in Western Cape which is now underway again.

According to the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL), the inquiry resumes today (Tuesday, 19 October) in Salt River. It runs through to Thursday with 17 witnesses called to give evidence.

This is the second sitting since the incident at RDM in Macassar in 2018 where an explosion led to the deaths of eight workers and fatal injury to one, the department said in a statement.  The first was in May this year when 13 witnesses were cross examined.

Since the explosion in September 2018, government employment and labour inspectors investigated in terms in terms the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It finished in 2019 with a report submitted to the Chief Inspector.

DEL ordered the establishment of an inquiry to investigate occupational health and safety (OHS) violations appointing Mphumzi Dyulete as presiding inspector. The inquiry was put on hold in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The inquiry continues this week and the commission will hear testimony from interested parties as to what transpired on that fatal day. Once the commission of inquiry established what happened it will compile a report and recommendations for DEL’s chief inspector who in turn will hand it to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for consideration,” said Dyulete.

Interested parties at the inquiry include RDM as the employer, employees, organised labour, family members and DEL.