Cosatu calls on Zuma to sack Minister Zwane

Cosatu says Zwane’s indifferent attitude toward the Langlaagte tragedy resembles what he did at Lily Mine.

Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: Youtube

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on President Jacob Zuma to fire Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, saying the minister has been stumbling from one crisis to the next.

Yesterday, the federation issued a strongly worded statement on the department's decision to suspend rescue operations at the Langlaagte mineshaft where two bodies were subsequently brought to the surface by volunteers who went underground without emergency services.

Cosatu says that while it understands that the search had to be called off the first time round because of dangerous conditions, Zwane's visit on Monday did nothing to bring relief for the relatives of the so-called zama-zamas.

Cosatu's Sizwe Pamla says Zwane's indifferent attitude toward the Langlaagte tragedy resembles what he did at Lily Mine and Cosatu now wants Zuma to fire him.

"After his press briefing last week, where he actually misrepresented Cabinet in public, we did come as the federation, calling on the president to ask the minister to step aside and we're still calling for that."

Pamla says the minister is using the nationality of the deceased mineworkers as an excuse for not trying to save them.

The Mineral Resources Department says the decision to call off the search was guided by consultations it had with illegal miners who had assisted with the search for a group of missing men.

WATCH: Zama zamas emerge after rescue called off at Langlaagte mine

Yesterday, volunteers resumed their search after authorities suspended the operation and discovered two more bodies underground.

The department's Martin Madlala said the volunteers who discovered the two bodies yesterday may have been working with information that authorities were not given.

Madlala said the decision to call off the search was made in consultation with illegal miners, police and rescue officials.

"There's also the multiplicity of groups that may be operating on that area, so to treat illegal miners as though it's one company, is also difficult."

The department says it's unfortunate that Zwane has been accused of not engaging with the community and families and it believes the claims are baseless.

On Monday, Zwane visited the site where rescue operations resumed following initial concerns over the deadly carbon monoxide being discharged.

Madlala said: "We find those claims unfortunate and we believe they are not being based on facts. We engaged thoroughly with those people who were willing to provide information and all the leads provided to the police."