SAFTU demands urgent action on mine safety after latest tragedy

The South African Federation of Trade Unions is deeply saddened and angry at the death of four mine workers at the Kloof Ikamva Shaft near Westonaria. Five workers entered an abandoned shaft with poor ventilation on Monday; one of them is still unaccounted for. The reason for the deaths has still not been clarified.

This is yet another fatality in a mine owned by Sibanye Stillwater, which has a terrible record on safety. This year alone:

  • On 31 January 2018 over 1 000 miners were trapped underground at the company’s Beatrix mine in the Free State; all employees were rescued safely;
  • In February two employees were killed by a fall of ground at Sibanye’s Kloof mine that was possibly linked to a nearby seismic event;
  • Later in the same month an employee was fatally injured while clearing a blocked ore pass at its Driefontein operations;
  • In May seven trapped workers died at its Driefontein Masakhane shaft after a seismic event that resulted in a fall of ground;
  • In June a mine worker died at Sibanye Stillwater’s Driefontein Hlanganani shaft, as a result of a ground fall, which led to three workers on night shift being trapped underground.
  • This latest tragedy brings the total number of deaths in Sibanye Stillwater mines this year to 19.

SAFTU demands that the Departments of Mineral Resources and Labour must urgently investigate the cause of this latest accident and require the company to take measures prevent any further such tragedies.

In particular it must investigate the serious allegation by AMCU that “Even though the DMR reportedly ordered the closing of the shaft‚ a manager still forced workers to go underground”.

SAFTU also supports AMCU’s demand for an amendment to the Mine Health and Safety Act “to give more power to workers and trade unions to address safety issues‚ in order to counter the power of mining bosses”.

SAFTU sends its condolences to the family, friends and fellow workers of the workers who have passed away.

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