Youngest victim of Denel explosion was just 19, the company confirms

The eight employees who died in an explosion at the Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) factory have been made public. The youngest victim was just 19.

In a statement, RDM identified the employees who died in the factory in Macassar on the outskirts of Cape Town on September 3 as:

  • Plant supervisor Nico Angelo Samuels, 41;
  • Team leader Stevon (sic) Robert Isaacs, 51;
  • Operator Mxolisi Sigadla, 40;
  • Operator Bradley Tandy, 19;
  • Operator Jamie Lesley Haydricks, 24;
  • Operator Jason Hartzenberg, 22;
  • Operator Triston Lance David, 22; and
  • Operator Thandolwethu Mankayi, 27.

The families gave permission for the RDM to release the names of their loved ones.

“We can now begin making funeral arrangements and we can proceed with the other tributes we had planned to honour our colleagues. The whole of RDM is mourning with the families,” RDM chief executive Norbert Schulze said.

The factory on the outskirts of Cape Town consists of 400 buildings‚ each with blast walls to prevent a chain reaction during an explosion. It manufactures artillery ammunition.

Schulze said earlier that the employees would have been mixing about a tonne of propellant and it would have ignited in milliseconds.

“Usually we talk about ignition like burning‚ but this was a detonation. We have no idea what caused this detonation.”

The explosion destroyed the entire building and the surrounding walls.

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition (RWM) in Germany and Denel concluded an equity partnership in 2007 wherein a majority interest in Denel’s Munition business was sold to RWM with a 51% (RWM) and 49% (Denel) equity shareholding. The company became known as RDM.

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