The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is mourning after receiving reports of another mineworker who was killed at Sibanye-Stillwater yesterday.

According to the report received, at approximately 15:48 yesterday (30 November 2021) a suspected blasting incident happened at 3 North Shaft of Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix operation close to Theunissen in the Free State.  This led to a fall of ground which injured five (5) mineworkers and killed one (1) winch driver.

“As AMCU, we are mourning as another one of our comrades has lost his life while working to put food on the table for his family”, said National Chairperson: Health and Safety, Xolani Bokoloshe.  “We pray to God that He may console the family and loved ones of this comrade, and we also pray for the speedy recovery of the five comrades who were injured due to this accident”, he said.

It is reported that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the AMCU Branch Leadership went underground yesterday to perform an in loco inspection.

“We cannot at this stage confirm whether this incident is the result of blasting or whether it happened due to erosion on the face”, Bokoloshe said.

AMCU has consistently called for the strengthening of the DMRE through the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA), and specifically for mine bosses to be held criminally liable for accidents where negligence can be proven.

“It is shocking that one company, namely Sibanye-Stillwater, can kill fourteen workers in one year and no word is spoken by the DMRE or the Chamber of Mines [Minerals Council]”, he said.  “It shows you that our government has become the lapdogs of the mining bosses, and mining bosses are left to kill our people as they please”, Bokoloshe said.

The Union previously made submissions for amendments to the MHSA to hold mining bosses accountable, and it continuously repeats this clarion call.  AMCU also recently called on the DMRE to lead an inquest into the rising mining fatalities this year.  The total number of fatalities for 2021 currently stands at 65, already surpassing the fatalities of 2020 (60) and 2019 (51) at year-end.

“These mines just kill workers in their pursuit of hyper profits”, said Bokoloshe.  “They don’t want to invest in the necessary safety infrastructure while they are busy purchasing mines in other countries and paying themselves millions in bonuses every year.  The gold price hit record levels and even during Covid they made record profits, but still we see these repeatable accidents happening”, he said.  “It is high time that they are held accountable for these immoral business practices”, Bokoloshe concluded.

For interviews:  Xolani Bokoloshe (082-495-5861)