The South African Chamber of Mines is lying when it says there has been an improvement on safety in mines, the National union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday.
“Three mineworkers lost their lives yesterday [Tuesday] … bringing into sharp contrast and question the notion of ‘improved safety in the mines’ raised by the Chamber of Mines,” said spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
“The NUM is concerned about these deaths and of the malicious lies spread by the Chamber of Mines that only 130 mineworkers died last year when over 167 lost their lives. This year the figures are at over 125”.
On Tuesday morning a miner died after a fall of ground at the Ezulwini mine in Westonaria, outside Johannesburg.
A miner at AngloGold Shanti’s Mponeng mine near Carletonville, outside Johannesburg, was found dead on Tuesday after he went missing the day before.
A third miner died after a rock fall accident at Goldfield’s Driefontein mine outside Carletonville.
A fourth was injured in a locomotive accident at the Simmer and Jack mine in Buffelsfontein, and a fifth was declared missing at Lonmin’s Karee mine on Tuesday afternoon after he did not return at the end of his shift. Search and rescue teams continue to search for him.
NUM expresses its anger
“We are alarmed that the insensitive Chamber of Mines calls all these deaths ‘improvement’ when breadwinners have died leaving their loved ones to scavenge for food at filthy dumping sites”.
The NUM was “infuriated” by comments by the Chamber of Mines published in the Sowetan that there was a 26% improvement in deaths at mines “when the so-called improvement is no improvement at all”.
“There is no ‘improvement’ to someone who lost their father in a mining accident, for example, and we have not even reached the festive season yet … we know that a lot more miners die in this period due to being made to work harder and more overtime”.
NUM called for the Chamber of Mines to “provide real leadership”.
“We want the Chamber to understand that people are losing lives and therefore there should be no time to brag about ‘killing a few people’ when thousands of families are left destitute.” — Sapa