Zwane to take stern action against negligent companies over miners' deaths

Mosebenzi Zwane said when mine companies prioritise the safety of workers, the deaths will decrease.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: Dumelang Media.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said his department will take stern action against mining companies where workers die due to negligence.

Zwane was speaking yesterday at a Health and Safety Imbizo at Sibanye Gold's Driefontein operation.

So far this year there have been 49 fatalities in the mining sector, an increase from 42 last year.

Zwane said when mine companies prioritise the safety of workers, the deaths will decrease.

He is promising to deal with companies that don't adhere to safety measures.

"We're saying to the mines if we're pushed we'll then definitely apply the sections that are there."

Zwane said his office has added 38 inspectors this year to enhance enforcement of compliance at mines.

PUT LIVES OF MINERS FIRST

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines President Mike Teke said 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 said 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.

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 said it has added 38 inspectors this year to enhance enforcement of safety compliance at mines.