Sibanye gold shafts are killer zones - Cosatu protesters

The picket comes in the wake of the deaths of seven miners at Sibanye-Stillwater’s’ Driefontein mine near Carletonville last week.

Union members from Cosatu picketing outside the Chamber of Mines calling on mining companies to take the safety of miners more seriously. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A large number of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) members have gathered in front of the Chamber of Mines offices in the Johannesburg CBD as part of a demonstration against mining companies, which they accuse of not taking the safety of mineworkers seriously.

The picket comes in the wake of the deaths of seven miners at Sibanye-Stillwater’s’ Driefontein mine near Carletonville last week. The union says 33 miners have died while on duty since the beginning of the year.

Those marching say it’s clear mining companies prioritise profit over people.

A large group of Cosatu supporters are singing in front of the Chamber of Mines, holding placards some of which read: “Sibanye gold shafts are killer zones” and “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini says the tragedy at Sibanye is a lesson that systems need to change.

“The government must ensure that they speed up the investigation, so that we know and act on the wrongs that they [mining company] have done. The mining company must be made to pay dearly to the families who’ve lost their relatives.”

He says deaths could’ve been avoided had there been safety measures, but it’s clear profits are more important.

WATCH: 3 miners still missing at Sibanye-Stillwater

SIT-IN

Cosatu and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) supporters have staged a sit-in in the CEO’s boardroom at the Chamber of Mines, demanding that he speak to them directly.

Miners and supporters of the two unions are calling on the chamber and mining companies to take seriously the lives of mineworkers.

A memorandum signed by the presidents of NUM and Cosatu has been received by a representative from the Chamber of Mines.

Staff at the chamber say the CEO is at the memorial service being held for the seven miners who died at the Sibanye-Stillwater Driefontein mine, but demonstrators have demanded to see him.

Dlamini says this picket is about highlighting that mining companies are only focused on profit.

“Workers are still being killed in mines or disrespected, and we say that’s got to stop.”

Those sitting in the CEO’s boardroom say they won’t leave until he comes to speak to them.

Meanwhile, a memorial service was held at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein operation on Thursday for the seven miners who lost their lives during a seismic event last week.

The NUM’s Piet Mathosa said: “Some 33 mineworkers have lost their lives and the top killers are gold mines, among them Sibanye and Harmony Gold.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)