Amcu leader slams Lily Mine over delayed recovery of bodies

2016-04-11 18:08
Lily Mine (AFP)

Lily Mine (AFP)

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Johannesburg - Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has criticised Lily Mine's delay in retrieving the bodies of three of its employees, who are still trapped underground.

"If it was a child, a son or daughter of a politician who was trapped in that container, do you think even today we would be [saying] that the container hasn't been retrieved? I doubt it very much," Mathunjwa told News24 on Monday.

He was speaking at a conference at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg under the theme "Serious Social Investing".

Lily Mine was temporarily closed after a shaft collapsed on February 5, leaving three employees trapped in a container.

Rescue efforts were unsuccessful. 

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader also criticised the role the department of mineral resources was playing in the mining sector, saying they were giving mining companies the power to dictate to the country.

He said mining companies needed to be held accountable for their actions, beyond their corporate social investment.

"To me it doesn't make sense that you give your collateral to the foreign investors and say I want a toilet, I want a clinic. You give them the platinum... and the only thing you want [is for them to] come and erect a clinic."

He said the department needed to have stricter rules, which mining companies should adhere to or risk losing their licence to the next bidder.

"You don't have a say in your economy. The only thing they leave us with is an environment that is so badly damaged [with] contaminated water, sinkholes etc.

"Twenty-two years into a democracy, the mineworker hasn't tasted democracy."

He said mining companies had become arrogant.

"They've got this arrogance, these capitalists, and our government leaves them. They do as they please, if they see that they are losing 2% of their profit, they mothball the mines.

"They hold the country to ransom. Why should we allow that? Take the licence, give it to the next person."

He said mining companies needed to move away from prioritising their money into equipment and development, without looking at the welfare of their employees.

"Give the employees a [decent] living wage and your business will prosper."

Read more on:    amcu  |  lily mine collapse

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