Parliamentary committee calls for 'harsher consequences' for mines that don't prioritise safety

2018-05-07 22:24
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Parliament's Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources has called for "harsher consequences" for the Sibanye-Stillwater mine, where seven miners died following a seismic event last week.

The committee's chairperson, Olefile Sefako, said the mine bosses should be severely punished if it was found that they neglected measures to avert fatalities and the loss of life prior to the rockfalls that occurred because of the seismic event.

"Although seismic events are a course of nature, it is high time that mining companies face serious consequences for neglecting measures for detecting early warning signs," Sefako said.

"Investigations [into] the accident should seek to establish the extent to which priority was given to health and safety at the mine."

ALSO READ: Sibanye-Stillwater deaths: ANC calls for total overhaul of safety measures at mines

He said the committee believed that the right technology to detect early signs of seismic events could be found or created if sufficient resources were made available to conduct research.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said on Saturday that mine safety had become a human rights issue and that legislation should be strengthened to hold mining bosses criminally accountable for failing to ensure safety at operations.

"It is simply ludicrous that the life of a mineworker is worth a mere 36 months of basic salary. AMCU has proposed a system much similar to the Road Accident Fund (RAF), in order to compensate workers and their families when these tragic events occur," said AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa.

"The union undertakes to heighten its campaign in ensuring that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) ups its game in regulating mining in South Africa.  The union will be meeting with Minister Gwede Mantashe to discuss the failures of [the] DMR in this and other regards," he said.

Read more on:    sibanye stillwater  |  accidents  |  mining

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