Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has condemned the recent mining accident in which four mine workers died at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof mine, calling on the South African mining industry to strengthen safety measures.
“It is a great concern to us that this accident has occurred soon after the disaster at the company’s Driefontein operations just a month ago,” Mantashe said.
“Health and safety of mineworkers and communities must receive our sharpest and special attention.”
Sibanye confirmed on Tuesday that the body of the fourth mineworker had been located at its Kloof Ikamva shaft near Westonaria, southwest of Johannesburg after the other three were found on Monday. Five workers entered an abandoned shaft with poor ventilation early on Monday. One worker remains trapped underground and operations to locate him are ongoing.
This is the seventh accident leading to fatalities at the Sibanye-Stillwater operations, making the company the biggest contributor to fatalities in the sector since the beginning of the year.
Mantashe said it was every employer’s responsibility to provide safe working spaces for their employees, and extended condolences to families of the deceased miners.
“It is the primary responsibility of every employer to provide a safe working space for its workers. As government, we have a responsibility of enforcing the laws governing health and safety,” Mantashe said.
“Workers fought for the right to refuse to work in dangerous conditions, a right now contained in Section 23(1) of the Mine Health and Safety Act, and this right must be enforced.”