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South Africa: Union calls for improved health and safety after four mineworkers are killed at Sibanye Stillwater gold mine


The deaths at Sibanye Stillwater operations in 2018 go beyond previous years with 11 killed in 2016, and nine in 2017. This year the death toll is already at 18 showing that the company’s operations are increasingly becoming death-traps for mineworkers.

Four mineworkers were killed, and one is still missing in yet another mine accident at Sibanye Stillwater’s Kloof Ikamva gold mine, about 60km from Johannesburg. The four are said to have died from heat exhaustion.

Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL director of mining says:

The dangerous conditions which Sibanye Stillwater continue to subject workers to are not acceptable and now bordering on negligence. The company must make efforts to always ensure the health and safety of the mine workers before profits.

In a petition to the Chamber of Mines last month, after the death of seven workers at Masakhane mine, a Sibanye Stillwater operation, the NUM urged the company to come up with a plan to implement the Mines Health and Safety Council requirements.

By so doing, the company would make progress towards achieving “zero harm”. Further, the mining company must also allow workers to exercise their rights to information, education and training, representation and to refuse to do dangerous work or enter unsafe workplaces. The union also demanded that the South African mining industry must stop recalling full-time health and safety representatives as they are necessary in building worker-control on health and safety issues, as well as reducing the number of accidents and deaths in the mines.

Peter Bailey, NUM health and safety chairperson, calls on the department of mineral resources to take action against the mining company and for inspectors to make compliance visits to the mining company’s operations:

NUM is highly disturbed and angered by the deaths.  It is unacceptable as we don’t sell our lives, limbs or lungs to the industry but our labour to provide for our families.


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