Mine safety should be tightened - portfolio committee chair

2016-05-20 15:01

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Cape Town - Legislation around issues of health and safety in mines should be tightened, chairperson of portfolio Committee on mineral resources Sahlulele Luzipho said on Friday.

“Mining in South Africa should not be like going to war, where death is a legitimate and real expectation,” he said following the discovery of a miner’s body at Impala Platinum’s mine in Rustenberg.

A search and rescue team found the body on Thursday. It could however not be recovered yet as it was in an unstable area.

Efforts to find the second missing miner were continuing.

The two were trapped underground at the mine's 1 Shaft after a rock fall on Tuesday.

According to reports, seven other miners working in the same area, got out unharmed.

Luzipho extended his and the committee’s condolences to the miner’s family.

“We share in their pain, particularly as there is a good chance that the miner was a bread winner in the family. The committee will continually raise the matter of mine safety and improved methods of doing the work in the mines without compromising jobs,” he said.

Luzipho urged the mining industry to “continue innovating in the area of safety”.

“It cannot be profits at all cost. We all have a responsibility not only to ensure the welfare of miners, but also that they do not lose their lives while actively working in the mines,” he said.

The South African National Civic Organisation’s (Sanco) national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu also called on mining houses to “uphold the culture of zero harm”.

"We wish to convey our condolences to the family that lost their loved one in the tragic incident. Our communities share their grief as well as the hope and anxiety of the family of the miner who is still unaccounted for," he said.

Mahlangu argued that higher penalties will lead to strict adherence to set occupational health and safety standards and reduce injuries and fatalities.

"Every mining incident reminds us that the Nkambule, Nyarende and Mnisi families are after 105 days still anxiously waiting for the bodies of their loved ones to be recovered at Lily Mine for them to find closure," he said.

"It is equally tragic that an investigation into that incident has not commenced for corrective action to be taken to prevent similar incidents at other mines." 

Read more on:    sanco  |  mining

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