Denel Munitions plant has second explosion in 3 years, Macassar

FF Plus

Denel Munitions plant has second explosion in 3 years, Macassar
Denel Munitions plant has second explosion in 3 years, Macassar

The second explosion at the Rheinmetall Denel Munitions plant at Macassar near Cape Town in just three years raises alarming questions about operational safety and continuing with production at the plant before the matter has been thoroughly investigated from all angles.

The problem is, however, that an investigation into the previous explosion, which claimed eight lives in September 2018, has still not been concluded.

It is unacceptable that even though the 2018 explosion claimed lives, production was resumed before answers had been found to all the questions surrounding the previous blast as continuing with production put human lives at risk. The latest explosion serves as clear proof.

At this stage, it seems that the explosion that rocked the plant just before midnight last night did not result in any fatalities and the FF Plus is truly grateful for that.

It is time for Denel to play open cards about the plant’s safety. The safety problems at the plant are no longer just a ticking time bomb – two explosions serve as proof of that.

Dr Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus, who is an expert in the field of producing and storing munitions, confirmed that there are stringent safety measures that must be in place, in accordance with the Explosives Act, when handling and working with explosives.

If these measures in terms of the law and the statutory licenses – that restrict, for instance, the quantity of explosives that may be stored at a particular point – are strictly adhered to, then the chances of an accident occurring, such as the one at Macassar, and the probability of losing lives are significantly reduced.

Thus, questions to Denel about the causes of the explosion are justified. These should include queries about personnel training and whether the relevant measures are in place and were adhered to.

And these questions must not remain unanswered for more than three years, as in the previous case.

At other institutions, a backward slide in operational expertise or maintenance may not pose a direct threat to human lives. But when it comes to explosives, the consequences are usually fatal.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus