Sibanye-Stillwater has become synonymous with graveyard as more and more lives are lost in this company’s mining operations.

The latest incident involves Mlungisi Vukuthi (29) who died at a Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine, Yarona Shaft, in the West Rand following a Fall of Ground incident. The incident took place on the morning of April 21 where the worker was struck by a falling rock.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) West Rand regional chairperson, Luyanda Maphinda, has decried lack of supervision and inadequate labour as one of the reasons behind these deaths.

“There is compromise when it comes to supervision in these shafts. When one looks at the recent Kloof incident and the latest one, one can tell that inadequate labour and lack of supervision are at the core of these deaths,” said Maphinda.

Maphinda also called on mining companies to invest in technologies that can detect an upcoming seismic event well before it happens.

“There was a seismic event that took place 110 meters away on the day a worker was killed at Yarona shaft. Though we cannot conclusively say this was the cause of Fall of Ground. There is some striking relationship,” he said.

“The seismic event which took place at 07:29am and the Fall of Ground was reported at 07:39am with the worker being pronounced dead at 9:45am upon being lifted above ground.”

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has since issued a section 54 to the company which requires Sibanye-Stillwater to withdraw all workers from the affected area and audit the shaft.

Almost every month since the beginning of 2018, Sibanye-Stillwater has seen a mineworker dying which should raise alarm bells to the DMR and other stakeholders.

AMCU has since called for the Safety Summit to address the challenge of fatalities in the sector.

The tragedy is with each death and each day these deaths are becoming the new normal, failing to trigger the much-required response.


24 April 2018 by Trust Matsilele