The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply saddened and shocked about the death of five mineworkers that died after the eruptions of a fire yesterday morning at Phalaborwa Copper Mine in Limpopo.
The NUM is reliably informed that the cause of the fire was as a result of the high temperature underground.
NUM North East Regional Chairperson of Health and Safety comrade Lally Sithole visited the mine yesterday and will this morning be joined by the NUM North East Regional Secretary comrade Phillip Mankge,NUM Health and Safety National Chairperson comrade Duncan Luvuno and the Provincial Secretary of COSATU in Limpopo comrade Gerald Thwala to establish the root cause of the incident.
As the NUM, we vehemently condemn this kind of incident as there is a high number of fatalities in the mining industry in South Africa this year. We further urge the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) which is the regulator to play its role in ensuring that mines are safe and put the safety of the mineworkers as a priority
The union demands an immediate thorough investigation by the DMR to establish the cause of this incident.
We call upon employers to put lives of mineworkers first so that we can be able to achieve zero harm and zero death in the mining industry.
The fact that there is no improvement on fatal accidents in the mining sector can only be interpreted as a sign of a lack of commitment towards zero harm and zero death by the mining sector.
The NUM sends condolences to the families, friends and fellow workers of the deceased mineworkers. May their souls rest in peace.
Duncan Luvuno: NUM Health and Safety Chairperson: 082 335 2250
Phillip Mankge: NUM North East Regional Secretary: 076 053 3401