The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has learnt with sadness of the mineworker who was killed during a mine accident yesterday.  According to reports, the incident happened during the early hours of the morning at Sibanye-Stillwater Platinum’s Kroondal Operations in Rustenburg.  Initial reports confirm that a Light Haul Dumper (LHD) overrun the deceased worker who then succumbed to his injuries.

“Our sincere condolences go out to the families and loved ones of the fallen comrade”, said AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa.  “We pray that God will give them comfort and closure during this trying time”, Mathunjwa added.

AMCU has been actively engaging with mining houses and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) about the way that government is dragging its feet in implementing regulations to prevent these types of accidents.

On 27 February 2015, the then Minister promulgated the Trackless Mobile Machinery (TMM) Regulations under Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act.  This machinery regulations required that all underground diesel powered trackless mobile machines must be provided with means: “to automatically detect the presence of any pedestrian within its vicinity. Upon detecting the presence of a pedestrian, the operator of the diesel powered trackless mobile machine and the pedestrian shall be warned of each other’s presence by means of an effective warning”.  However, many mining houses have requested exemption from these regulations and AMCU’s calls to the DMRE to take action, have fallen on deaf ears.

“AMCU has consistently pointed out that avoidable accidents like this should be dealt with as manslaughter.  If there is technology available to make vehicles stop automatically when pedestrians are detected, surely it should be implemented without any waste of time”, Mathunjwa said.

“It is ironic that while Sibanye-Stillwater boasts in the media about their massive profits in gold and platinum, they plead poverty when it comes to investing in safety infrastructure to protect their employees”, said Mathunjwa.

This fatality brings the total number of deaths in the South African mining sector to 44 for the year to date in South African Mining Industry, of which 10 can be attributed to Sibanye-Stillwater.

“We keep on calling for the Mine Health and Safety Act to be amended so that these mining bosses can be held personally accountable for killing our comrades”, said Mathunjwa.  “We will never stop our campaign to ensure that the most vulnerable of workers are treated with dignity and respect, and that mining bosses invest some of their hyper profits in creating safe and healthy workplaces”, Mathunjwa concluded.

For interviews:  AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa