Q&A with Sahlulele Luzipo, chairman of parliament's mining oversight committee
So far this year 54 miners have died. Chris Barron asked the chairman of parliament's mining oversight committee Sahlulele Luzipo…
Should mine operators be held accountable?
Everyone should be accountable. If you buy a car and you have an accident, surely you are liable and accountable for the car you own?
Do you know if there was negligence?
Some cases quite clearly demonstrated sheer negligence or dereliction of duty by those who have the responsibility to look after the interests of mine-workers.
Have you asked them to appear before your committee?
We have requested information. But it's a very complex industry.
Isn't that why you need them before you to explain?
The problem is you'll find senior counsel representing the companies and it becomes a very complex process. Shouldn't we have a simple process like in the CCMA to make these people individually accountable, rather than to have senior counsel who will represent them on what they were supposed to do?
No legal representation for them?
Only if there's a criminal prosecution. Otherwise it makes matters complex.
Isn't that why you need to question them?
Maybe we wouldn't understand the right questions to ask.
Isn't that your job?
When we engage with them ...
Have you engaged with (gold mining company) Sibanye?
I haven't myself. It all has to be part of a process.
Is the process too long?
And it is too complicated.
Because we need answers much quicker, don't we?
I agree with you 100%.And we still don't have answers?
No, not at all. And I won't lie and say I'm not frustrated.
Are there enough safety inspectors in the department?
I'm sure this is one of the smallest items in the budget. I don't think they've got enough.
Are they properly trained?
That is another question.
Are you concerned about the lack of high-level talks about safety?
What concerns me is a lack of action.
On whose part?
On the employers' part.
Isn't it the job of the minister to convene these talks?No, I can't make a judgment on whether the minister has done so. He can answer for himself. But all of us must accept we have to reduce the level of carnage.
No one seems to be showing much urgency.
Your judgment is a subjective one.
We still don't know why the miners died, do we?
That doesn't mean nothing is being done. The issue is whether the process is productive enough. We suspect there is a gap in the law. But when everyone is demanding stronger legislation, when that process kicks in, we will be told that we are chasing investors away.
Do mine bosses flout the law?
I wouldn't say they've been flouting the law, I would say they've been mastering the law.
What does that mean?
It means they know how to punch holes in it.