‘Mining bosses must be held accountable’

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Amcu’s President Joseph Mathunjwa says mining bosses must be held accountable and charged with culpable homicide for fatal accidents that continue to claim the lives of workers in the mining industry.

This, after 11 mineworkers died at Impala’s Shaft 11, following the breakage of a winder rope connected to the personnel conveyance cage, that hoists employees up and down the shaft.

Mathunjwa was speaking on the sidelines of a media briefing led by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe and Impala Platinum CEO Nico Muller.

According to Impala Platinum, the rescue operation took over 10 hours to complete.

Muller says, “Our rescue operations started at 6pm last night and by 7am this morning we were able to clear all employees impacted out of the underground workings. The next step of the process was to, with a multi representative team get a look and feel of what transpired. On conclusion of this initial process, we will then get involved in a full examination to understand the root cause of the failure.”

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe says this was a setback for efforts to reduce mining fatalities.

“It is quite a sad incident. It dented our efforts to move towards zero harm in the industry. You remember that in 2022 we reduced the number of fatalities to 49 that was the lowest number. We are still on the track to do that. We were at 41 and then there was this disaster. When there’s a disaster like this one we pay attention to it and draw lessons out of it. What we are not going to do is to stand up on tables and shout about it.”

Mineworkers’ Union, Amcu, did not mince words – calling for accountability.

Amcu’s President Joseph Mathunjwa says, “Amcu has been calling for the amendment of the Mine Health and Safety Act for years. Company bosses need to be held accountable and should be charged with culpable homicide. Some of these accidents are repeatable accidents. It’s an accident that could have been avoided especially these kinds of accidents. I believe, this mechanical fault that led to this accident could have been addressed.”

According to the mine, 75 injured mineworkers have been hospitalised and 10 of them are in a critical condition.

Impala Mine Accident I ‘Mining bosses must be held accountable’: Joseph Mathunjwa