Minister orders mining companies to 'get their act together'

Mosebenzi Zwane says Sibanye Gold is among mines that perform poorly in terms of safety checks.

FILE: Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane says mining companies must get their act together and protect the lives of workers underground.

Zwane met with Sibanye Gold mine management and unions to discuss the mine's safety and performance.

He says trends show fatalities tend to increase in winter, as well in the second half of the year and this requires extra vigilance from government, business and labour.

Sibanye Gold CEO Wayne Robinson has conceded the mine's current safety performance is poor.

"We've put measures in place which includes safety audits, we've got safety campaigns and workplace engagements."

#MineSafety Nel "my request to everyone is when you see unsafe acts, stop and fix" CM

The Chamber of Mines President Mike Teke says mines, government and labour need to go beyond their differences to save lives.

"We must go beyond those differences and collaborate and build our relationships to try and save our lives."

Zwane says Sibanye Gold is among the mining companies that perform poorly in terms of safety checks.

He has also told mining bosses not to put profit before the lives of workers - calling on the mining companies to take extraordinary measures to stem fatalities in the sector.

Fatalities in the mining sector have increased by seven from last year to 49 this year, with Sibanye Gold accounting for 10 of these.

He insists the safety of workers must come first.

"I am sure we all want money, we want profit, but profit must not be at the expense of workers. You should make profit because you have invested, but your workers must also be happy. They must be safe."

The mineral resources department says it has added 38 inspectors this year to enhance enforcement of safety compliance at mines.