Mantashe: Signs of recklessness in latest Sibanye-Stillwater mine deaths
Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says his department will not hold back in dealing with Sibanye-Stillwater if the company is found to have broken any rules.
JOHANNESBURG – Minerals Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe says that there are signs of reckless conduct in the deaths of at least four miners at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof Ikamva shaft.
The workers are said to have died of heat exhaustion after going into a disused shaft in Westonaria on Monday.
One of their colleagues is still unaccounted for.
Mantashe says his department will not hold back in dealing with Sibanye-Stillwater if the company is found to have broken any rules.
The minister visited the mine on Tuesday night.
“These workers were going to a shaft that was not mined for a long time but to allow them in there without ventilating the area, people die. But when we can’t conclusively say this is the reason for that, but that in itself is reckless.”
WATCH: Four miners dead at Sibanye-Stillwater's Kloof mine
Meanwhile, Sibanye-Stillwater said it is still unable to locate a fifth miner believed to have died at the mine.
This is the seventh tragedy at a Sibanye-Stillwater operation since the start of this year, and unions are calling on Mantashe to hold the mine accountable.
Spokesperson for Sibanye-Stillwater mine, Thabisile Phumo, said efforts to get to the miner, which have now entered their second night, are still underway.
“It’s a very tragic situation and we’d like to, obviously, send our condolences to families, colleagues and friends of the four mineworkers who passed on. We remain hopeful that we’d able to find the fifth employee.”
Earlier, Mantashe condemned the recent mining tragedy at the mine, calling on the industry to strengthen safety measures at its operations.
Parliament’s committee for Mineral Resources has also reacted to the recent deaths. The committee has questioned why mine managers are still employed while they fail to ensure the safety of workers.
The committee has also criticised senior managers for prioritising profits over the safety of mine workers.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)