LISTEN | Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa accuses Implats of negligence after 11 dead in Rustenburg
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) accused Impala Platinum mine of negligence after 11 workers died and 75 were injured at its mine in Rustenburg on Monday.
Joseph Mathunjwa, president of Amcu, said the disaster could have been avoided.
“We have been calling for the amendment of the mine safety act. We want these company bosses to be accountable and be charged with culpable homicide.
“This accident could have been avoided, these lifts need to be serviced regularly and the safety measures should be checked. For a lift of this magnitude to have all safety measures failing and crashing — who’s going to charge them because the politicians have interests in these mines,” said Mathunjwa.
When TimesLIVE visited the shaft on Tuesday, underground operations had been halted, the scene was quiet and there were no families in sight.
Mathunjwa said owners have no interest in achieving zero harm at mines.
“Two weeks ago two workers died at Sibanye, and nothing has happened. These inquiries are becoming a new normal like load-shedding and water-shedding.
“Our tolerance level is very high — we tolerate all rubbish that happens to us because that’s how we are. In Lily Mine [in Barberton] we still have three workers trapped. They can’t go and retrieve just a container with three people inside.
“What happened in the Marikana Commission? This will be one of those inquiries where no one will be held accountable,” said Mathunjwa.
The department of mineral resources and energy has called for an investigation into the incident at Implats.
Minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe said statutory measures will be implemented to support the deceased and injured.
“We came to have a first-hand sense of the nature of the disaster. Rescue operations have been completed, the deceased remains 11.
“It takes us back to 2018 when we last saw a disaster in the industry in Phalaborwa. The nature of the disaster is similar to the Vaal Reefs mine years ago. We’re mourning them and sympathising with the family.”
Mantashe said there are routine checks undertaken at the mine.
On Monday, the shaft personnel conveyance was hoisting employees to the surface at the end of their shift.
At 4.54pm, the conveyance unexpectedly started descending. Its rapid descent was stopped by the conveyance counterweight becoming trapped by the jack catches.
“All emergency protocols were observed during the event and paramedics and our proto (search and rescue) teams were immediately mobilised. Investigations into the cause of the incident have commenced,” said Implats CEO Nico Muller.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.