The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has received shocking news that three (3) mineworkers were trapped underground and that so far two (2) of them have passed away, with one (1) being rescued. The Union sends condolences to the loved ones of the fallen comrades but also questions the safety regulations at Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations.
Earlier today AMCU received reports that three (3) mineworkers were trapped underground at Beatrix Shaft 4 operated by Sibanye-Stillwater. The incident, which took place at around 11h00 this morning, is reported to be a fall-of-ground, and subsequently two (2) of the trapped workers have been found and declared dead. The remaining worker has been rescued and has been transferred to hospital to receive treatment.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families and colleagues of these mineworkers,” said AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa. “It always remains a deeply saddening event when one of our loved ones are taken away just like that,” he added. “We will await the investigation and inquiry to follow, and ensure that we participate fully to ensure justice for our fallen comrades and their families,” promised Mathunjwa.
Falls-of-ground are one of the most common reasons for mineworkers being killed at work. This year alone, a total of 15 mineworkers were killed as a result of this, and in 2019 the total was 20. Mining remains one of the most dangerous environments to work in, with the total fatalities for this year registering a concerning figure of 37. With these two latest fatalities today, this figure stands at 39.
“We constantly tell these mining bosses that falls-of-ground are repeatable incidents,” said Mathunjwa. “They know that these things can be prevented, but still the drive for more and more profit makes them risk the lives of black mineworkers,” he added. “Even though the gold price is soaring, their greed makes them lust for more and more. Just two weeks ago they [Sibanye-Stillwater] had a Safety Summit and we again pointed out to them that they don’t care about black lives. In mining, black lives don’t matter,” he said.
“It is now clear that this is becoming nothing but a genocide of sorts. We again repeat our clarion call for the Mine Health and Safety Act to be amended so that these mining bosses can be held accountable and go to jail, just like any other murderer must go to jail,” Mathunjwa concluded.