Amcu: Sibanye's safety measures not adequate

Nearly 1,000 mineworkers were trapped underground at the company's Welkom mine this week following an electric cable outage caused by a storm.

FILE: Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Twitter/@_AMCU

JOHANNESBURG - Mining unions are calling for an overhaul of safety measures at Sibanye Gold's operations.

Nearly 1,000 mineworkers were trapped underground at the company's Welkom mine this week following an electric cable outage caused by a storm.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)'s Joseph Mathunjwa says that it appears that the company's safety plans are far from adequate.

"At this point in time, it shows that there is no rescue plan in place. They don't invest in safety measures to prevent such situations. The generators are more expensive than the lives of the mineworkers."

Sibanye management says that through the course of Thursday, over 300 miners were rescued from two shafts.

Power has been restored in the early hours of Friday morning at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix mine in the Free State and the process of rescuing mineworkers is now underway.

Buses have begun transporting mineworkers to their family members who are waiting at a holding area at the mine.

Sibanye Stillwater’s James Wellsted says: “I can confirm the first hoist has come up and brought the first batch of employees up and we'll continue to bring people up over the course of the next hour or so.”

Additional reporting by Hitekane Magwedze.