Amcu calls for Mine Safety Act amendment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa has called for the amendment of the Mine Health and Safety Act, so mining companies can be held accountable when incidents happen at the mines.

Mathunjwa says today is a sad day for the mining industry as 11 miners died at Impala Platinum mine’s number 11 shaft.

He and his union’s executives were at the shaft in a fact-finding mission into the incident which also left 75 other mineworkers injured.

“We still have a long way to go here in South Africa when it comes to Health and Safety. You will remember that Amcu has been making a clarion call, in terms of amending of Mine Health and Safety Act, because we felt strongly that the current Mine Health and Safety Act, does not bite. I mean, it doesn’t change anything. The status quo remains. Workers are still dying underground, with no consequences for the owners of the mines.”

Mathunjwa says the mining industry is taking advantage of workers.

” The life of a black worker in South Africa is cheap, in particular in the mining sector. It is just a number and I am saying this with all due respect. If you look at where we are standing in terms of the breadwinners that perished in this mine, we are looking at 41, excluding the 11 that we are talking about. Yes, indeed it is a sad day today, for the mining industry and South Africa at large.”

The injured were transferred to hospitals around Rustenburg. The mining company says rescue operations have been completed and operations will be suspended at its 11 shafts in Rustenburg until further notice.