Fifth body in Sibanye-Stillwater mining disaster found

Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville on the West Rand in Gauteng. PHOTO: ANA

Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville on the West Rand in Gauteng. PHOTO: ANA

Sibanye-Stillwater has confirmed that a fifth body has now been recovered from the Kloof Ikamva shaft.

Following the tragedy that occurred on Monday when a group of five miners went down a disused shaft in Westonaria, the fifth and final body has been recovered, EWN reports.

The miners are now understood to have died of heat exhaustion. Earlier, it had been reported the deaths may have been caused by a gassing accident.

No one at the mine has yet been able to adequately explain why the miners were there in the first place.

Thabisile Phumo, spokesperson for the mine, discussed funeral arrangements for the fallen miners.

“Now that we’ve concluded the rescue effort, we’ll be engaging with the families in terms of the individuals’ funeral plans that they have in place, and we’ll send out communication in terms of the way forward and regarding their memorial service because obviously we need to talk to other stakeholders about that.”

Cosatu has reacted to the tragedy by calling on Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to close the entire mine.

Mantashe has dismissed this call as reckless and populist, pointing out there would be massive job losses as a result of Sibanye-Stillwater’s closure.

READ MORE: Amcu calls on Ramaphosa to intervene on deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the trade union federation was also calling on those responsible for the tragedy to be prosecuted. “As Cosatu, we’re calling for government to really investigate and prosecute the Sibanye-Stillwater management for their reckless endangerment of workers.”

Yesterday, The Citizen reported the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the deaths of workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations.

“The union again calls for the urgent intervention of the state president to address this tragic state of affairs, by, amongst other [solutions], amending the safety legislation to enable greater rights to refuse in hazardous situations,” Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said in a statement.

“We now call upon President Ramaphosa to urgently intervene and address this issue. Amcu would like to see the Mine Health and Safety Act amended to give more power to workers and trade unions to address safety issues, in order to counter the power of mining bosses.”

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