An in-depth investigation has been launched, into the cause of the explosion that left eight factory workers dead on Monday, by the South African arms manufacturer Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, located in Somerset West.
The investigation into the cause of the explosion is being led by South African Police Services (SAPS) in conjunction with the Department of Labour.
Another process is also underway to positively identify the workers who lost their lives. Currently, is it believed that eight people were killed in the blast. Physical inspection of the blast site only took place on Tuesday as a result of ‘safety concerns’, and families are now actively participating with police to identify bodies.
Family members have been required to submit DNA samples of the workers of the munitions factory, as it is the only way to positively identify their remains.
It is suspected that the plant’s manager, Nico Smauels, may be one of the blast’s eight victims.
Speaking to EWN, his wife, Lawrencia Samuels, said that she cannot provide any DNA to authorities, as she and her husband did not share blood. “Myself and my mother-in-law went. I can’t give any DNA, but my mother-in-law did the swab for testing,” she said.
The company is now in the ‘recovery phase’, and has alleged that the product that was involved in the explosion is an ignition propellant. This more commonly known as ‘gun cotton’, and is used as ignition material in large ammunition charge systems.
There has been a lot of talk about the toxicity of the cloud emitted created by the explosion, but Rheinmetall Denel has maintained that it does not pose a health risk to its staff or those living in the surrounds of Somerset West.
The company is slated to meet with the family members of those affected by the explosion on Thursday and will provide them with a detailed update on the incident.
“There is nothing more important right now than providing utmost support and care for the families involved in this heartbreaking incident,” Rheinmetall Denel Munitions CEO, Norbert Schulze, said in a statement.