The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is shocked and saddened by the report of yet another fatality at Impala Platinum. The Union sends its condolences to the loved ones of each of the workers. It again calls for greater accountability through tougher regulation of mine safety.
On Friday morning, 6 September 2019, at approximately 03h30, a Scraper Winch Operator was fatally injured underground in a winch related incident. The worker was from the Eastern Cape and had four children.
Investigations are underway, as AMCU understands, and shall reveal more information once completed. However, AMCU has managed to ascertain that from initial observations and inspections, the company may have diverted from their own procedure, allowing for materials to be transported using a winch during a night shift.
News just in: Two Rivers Platinum reports a Load Haul Dumper (LHD) related fatality occurring Sunday, 8 September 2019. The LHD operator was fatally injured by another LHD driving past. An LHD is a Trackless Mobile Machine (TMM), currently second to falls of ground (FOG) as the most common fatality related occurrence.
AMCU sends its condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the fallen workers. May their souls rest in eternal peace. AMCU reiterates its former calls for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act, the Union has also called on mining bosses to invest more of their profits and dividends in safety systems and infrastructure. Mining houses should face greater accountability through stronger regulation and enforcement by the DMRE.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) this morning received a notice of the possible retrenchment of 5 270 employees at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Lonmin operations at Marikana. The notice, sent in terms of section 189A of the Labour Relations Act, includes various supporting documents as part of the rationale for the possible retrenchment. AMCU is currently processing the notice and the supporting documents and the Union will comment more comprehensively once due processes are completed. For now, we emphasise that this notice again clearly shows the principle of profit over people. The sad reality is that, if workers escape being killed while working in these mines, section 189 of the Labour Relations Act becomes another weapon to secure the super profits of mining bosses. AMCU will spare no resource to ensure the job security of workers.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is saddened by another TWO fatalities at Harmony Gold’s Free State operations and ONE at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Bambanani Shaft. The Union has been consistently calling for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act. But yet again we see another breadwinner killed and yet mining bosses collect their bonuses. Where is the justice?
As the new year opens, Harmony Gold has two fatalities on their hands. In the early hours of Saturday, 11 January 2020, a locomotive driver was unfortunately fatally injured in a mud rush incident, whilst working on night shift.
Reportedly, the worker went to inspect the box chute, which conveys ore into locomotive carriers, and for some reason yet unknown the box opened and overwhelmed him with collected ore, killing him. The AMCU comrade was from Lesotho and he leaves behind a wife and four children.
On Tuesday, 13 January 2020, another mine worker was found dead underground at Phakisa mine, after he was absent from the end of night shift. We await the conclusion of the investigation.
On Friday, 17 January 2020, we received a report of another fatality at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Bambanani Shaft at their Kroondal operations, near Rustenberg. A Rock Drill Operator (RDO) was tragically killed in a fall of ground incident. He was a Mozambican national. Investigations are underway.
This is a tragic start to 2020 and indeed for Harmony Gold, which led the fatalities in 2019 with ten workers killed, overtaking Sibanye-Stillwater and Village Main Reef. The last fatality at Harmony Gold was on 17 December 2019 at their Kusasalethu operations. Will Harmony Gold become the leader in 2020? Will Sibanye-Stillwater jockey for position?
These fatalities show a lack of commitment by senior management towards improving safety at these mines. The employer has the legal duty of continuously monitoring compliance at each mine, and Harmony Gold and Sibanye-Stillwater are again failing in that obligation. What are the Board of Directors doing but raking in profits at the expense of African workers?
Where is the government’s intervention? When will perpetrators of such heinous acts be brought to justice? Are workers just here to make bosses rich, easily replaced if they become sick or injured? Easily replaced if they are killed? No! As AMCU we say no. Where is the justice? Employers must be held to account by a Mine Health and Safety Act with teeth and a government which works to protect people, not profits.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is saddened and dismayed by yet another fatality at Village Main Reef’s (VMR) Tau Lekoa mine in the North West. The Union has been consistently calling for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act. But yet again we see another breadwinner killed. When will we see justice?
Yesterday, 30 January 2020, another mine worker was killed in a fall of ground (FOG) event, reportedly due seismicity, at VMR’s Tau Lekoa mine in Orkney, North West Province. We await the investigation and further details.
On 25 January 2020, one day after the Minister of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), Hon. Gwede Mantashe, announced the 2019 mining health and safety performance figures, another fatality occurred at the very same mine. At approximately 13h54 a seismic event of approximately 2.4ML occurred, trapping one mine worker. Unfortunately, by the time the rescue team reached the worker, he was already deceased. Investigations are underway and further details are yet unclear.
Just last month, on 7 December 2019, at the very same mine, four (4) workers were also fatally injured in an FOG event due to seismicity.
So far this brings the total number of mine workers killed for 2020 to seven (7), including one worker found dead at Harmony Gold’s Phakisa mine on 13 January 2020, and the year is yet young.
Minister Mantashe and the DMRE team has just last week announced 2019 as the lowest year on record for fatalities in the mining sector. Will 2020 bring about a regression? All employees must be protected!
We implore the government for stricter punishment of any and all employers who kill workers they are legislated to protect. We seek immediate intervention and swift justice! Employers must be held to account by a Mine Health and Safety Act with teeth and a government which works to protect people, not profits.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has taken hands with the South African Trade Union Federation (SAFTU) on a joint campaign against austerity, job losses and unemployment. The initiative, termed the “Cry the Excluded” campaign, will kick off with a press briefing at Constitutional Hill on 12 February 2020.
Ahead of the 2020 State of the Nation Address and National Budget Speech, AMCU, led by President Joseph Mathunjwa and the militant trade union Federation, SAFTU, headed by Zwelinzima Vavi are coming together to launch a mass action campaign against austerity, job losses and mass unemployment.
We are reaching out to all trade unions, social movements and other popular forces to join us in this campaign. All of us who believe that another South Africa is possible – one in which we have put an end to violence, inequality, unemployment and poverty – are invited to join hands with us.
We will be holding a press conference at Constitutional Hill, Women’s Jail from 9.30 with representatives of people’s movements on Wednesday 12 November to share with the country our plans for the Cry of the Excluded Campaign.
Don’t mourn… Organise!
Members of the media and interested persons from progressive movements are invited to join us at a press briefing tomorrow (12 February 2020) at the Women’s Jail, Constitutional Hill. We plan to start at around 9:30 and we should be done by 11:00.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has learnt of a fatal accident at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu Mine on the West Rand. The Union again calls for greater accountability through tougher regulation of mine safety.
AMCU has learnt with dismay of yet another fatality in the mining industry. Unfortunately a worker was killed and two others injured in a scraper winch-related incident on Friday, 21 February 2020 at Kusasalethu Mine, owned by Harmony Gold. The investigation is underway. As far as we know, the number of fatalities for 2020 so far is seven (7). We also reiterate that this is the third worker killed at Harmony Gold operations this year. We do not forget that in 2019 Harmony Gold had 10 fatalities in their operations; 10 breadwinners killed. Are we seeing the beginnings of a bloodbath year, set to smash the “safest year on record”? There can be no “safest year”, not unless a year passes without mineworkers being killed, maimed and made sick. The industry still has blood on its hands! The life of an African worker is still being treated cheaply. AMCU reiterates its former calls for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act, the Union has also called on mining bosses to invest more of their profits and dividends in safety systems and infrastructure. Mining houses should face greater accountability through stronger regulation and enforcement by the DMRE.