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Mine deaths skyrocket at Impala Platinum's Mine in Rustenburg

By Erick Gcilitshana, NUM Health and Safety Secretary

 

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply worried and saddened that four mineworkers lost their lives at Impala Platinum's mine in Rustenburg when a fire broke out underground during a shift on Friday evening at shaft number 14.

 

There were also two fatalities at the same shaft in December 2015. As the NUM, we are deeply concerned about these fatalities happening at Impala Platinum. We call upon the company to pull up its socks and improve its health and safety system. NUM members and other mineworkers are extremely worried about health and safety standards at Impala Platinum mine.

 

We call upon the mining companies to invest more money in protecting the lives of workers than focusing more on profits. Mineworkers cannot be sacrificed for profits.

 

We call upon the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to trigger its investigation to the cause of this tragic incident and as the NUM, we will participate in the investigation to leave no stone unturned. Those found responsible for negligence must be prosecuted.

 

The NUM is of the view that one death in the industry is just one death too many...production should not and must not be at the expense of mineworkers' lives."

 

"It is unacceptable that mineworkers are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety and that instead they are expected to go to work to die. We are selling our labour for the survival of our families, not our limbs and lives," said Erick Gcilitshana, NUM Heath and Safety Secretary.

 

"Once again we call upon the DMR inspectorate to quickly investigate the source of this fire and other contributing factors. The workers must be united in dealing with their health and safety in the mining industry and use their hard-won worker rights that NUM fought for to be legislated," Gcilitshana added.

 

We call on the DMR inspectorate and Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to hold the industry fully accountable for its failures and adopt a no-nonsense approach when it comes to mine deaths.

 

The NUM would like to convey its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of the deceased during this difficult time.

 

- See more at: http://www.cosatu.org.za

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