11 June 2018

 

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is shocked and in mourning as news arrives that three more mineworkers have been found dead at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof operations.  This bring the total of those who perished to four, with one worker still missing.  The Union again calls for the urgent intervention of the State President to address this tragic state of affairs, by amongst others amending the safety legislation to enable greater rights to refuse in hazardous situations.

AMCU received reports from its health and safety desk that another three workers were found at Ikamva Shaft.  After a reported gassing incident, five workers were trapped, and one body was recovered this morning.  This means that four mineworkers have died, and a further one is still missing.

Even though the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) reportedly ordered the closing of the shaft, a manager still forced workers to go underground.

This brings the total number of deaths at the operations of Sibanye-Stillwater this year, to a shocking total of nineteen (19).

AMCU sends its condolences to the loved ones of the fallen workers as well as prayers to the families of the trapped worker.  We hope and pray that he or she may be recovered alive and returned to his or her family members.

Previously AMCU has attempted to garner all kinds of support to address this current state of affairs, including requesting interventions by Mining Minister Gwede Mantashe and President Cyril Ramaphosa.  This has not yet yielded results.

We now call upon President Ramaphosa to urgently intervene and address this issue.  AMCU would like to see the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) amended to give more power to workers and trade unions to address safety issues, in order to counter the power of mining bosses. 

Above amendments should include strengthening the right to refuse working in unsafe conditions, as contemplated in section 23.  Currently workers fear victimisation and unfair disciplinary action when calling upon this right.  They fear being bullied and intimidated for making a stand.  The obvious other fear relates to loss of income.  Still, we believe that it is important that this right is enshrined, and we need more investment in training so that workers can recognise hazardous working conditions.  We are currently considering our options in dealing with this tragic state of affairs.