The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday visited Phalaborwa Copper mine and established that the cause of the incident was a conveyor belt that caught fire whilst busy in motion and we suspect that the fire suppression system was not functioning and that is pure negligence from the company’s side.
The NUM still reiterates its call for the Mine Health and Safety Act to be amended so that whoever is found to be responsible for fatalities can be arrested, prosecuted and sent to jail for a longer period not only five as the act currently recommends. The owner of the mine must also be given a heavy fine not only three million.
Section 92(6). Says”Any owner convicted of an offence in terms of section 86 or 86A may be sentenced to (a) Withdrawal or suspension of the permit, or b fine of three million rand or period of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to both such fine or imprisonment.
The fire was not started by a tokoloshe, therefore, negligence can be proven without a doubt if the thorough investigation is conducted. All these can be proven with diligence investigation and the law is clearly written to protect the lives of the workers. If negligence is found after the investigation by the DMR inspectorate, we call on the law enforcement agencies to arrest those who are responsible for the six fatalities.
Section 2 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, dictates to the employer that an operational mine shall be: 1. Designed, 2, Constructed and 3, Equipped, 1. to provide conditions for safe operation and a healthy working environment.
The NUM is still continuing to make a call to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to ensure compliance and monitor the safety of the workers at all times.
The Deputy President of the NUM Phillip Vilakazi, NUM North East Regional Chairperson Essop Mokgonyana and the Deputy General Secretary of COSATU Solly Phetoe will be visiting the Phalaborwa Copper Mine today.
For more information: Please contact:
Duncan Luvuno: NUM Health and Safety Chairperson: 082 335 2250
Phillip Mankge: NUM North East Regional Secretary: 076 053 3401
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257