Ramaphosa mourns deaths of 7 Sibanye-Stillwater miners

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President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness at the death of seven mine workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville on the West Rand. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)
President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness at the death of seven mine workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville on the West Rand. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday expressed his sadness at the death of seven mine workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine, near Carletonville on the West Rand.

The death toll at the mine has risen to seven following initial reports that four workers had died.

Read: Sibanye-Stillwater death toll climbs to 7 as rescue operations wrap up

"As government and South Africans at large, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased workers, among whom are workers from neighbouring states including Mozambique," said Ramaphosa.

"We also offer our best wishes to workers who have been directly or indirectly affected by this disaster, which should move the mining industry and government to jointly find ways to do all we can to protect our nation’s most valuable resource - the workers who are at the heart of our economy.

"We should spare no cost and no collaboration to ensure that workers are safe and their families are adequately cared for and compensated when disaster and tragedy strike."

Ramaphosa expressed his hope that the investigation into the Driefontein disaster would identify the causes of the incident and lead to solutions that would address the unacceptable rate of death in South African mines.

Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson James Wellsted, said on Saturday morning that all 13 employees who were trapped underground at the Masakhane mine, Driefontein Operations, had been recovered by mine rescue personnel. 

"Regrettably, the last three employees who were recovered passed away from their injuries, bringing the total number of fatalities as a result of the seismic event to seven," he said. 

Wellsted said the six employees who had been successfully rescued were admitted to hospital and in a stable condition.

"The families of the employees have been contacted and are receiving the necessary support and counselling," he said.

Wellsted said the board and management of Sibanye-Stillwater expressed their sincere condolences to the friends and families of those who affected by the seismic event. 

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