The Department of Labour is set to decide whether those responsible for the deadly explosion at the Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) plant in Somerset West would be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution.
This comes as Rheinmetall Denel Munition ’s own investigation found human error was the cause behind the explosion of building N16 which lead to the deaths of eight employees on September 3 last year.
The men aged btetween 18 and 40 were killed when a blast destroyed the site’s entire propellant operations building.
At the time of the incident, sub-lots of single-base propellant were being blended into one homogenous final lot, with all members of the team fully trained, and the team leader and supervisor both with extensive experience with the material and the operations being executed, the report said.
Lead investigator Rod Keyser said the investigation team concluded that the cause was a combination of human error when excess graphite was added to the material and a highly complex electrostatic electricity risk which was very unlikely to have been foreseen, or expected to have been foreseen by the individuals involved.
He said that particular type of electrostatic electricity was previously unidentified and an unforeseen hazard across the industry internationally.
Western Cape provincial inspector David Esau said their report was with the chief inspector and based on the findings he could rule the incident an accident, call for a public hearing and accept submissions or refer the matter on to the NPA.
RDM chief executive Jan-Patrick Helmsen told the families that none of them were prepared for the sudden, unexpected loss of life and he hoped the findings would help bring them closure
Macassar community leader Pastor Adrian Manuel said the families were not yet ready to address the media.
More: Cape Times