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Mines contravening Safety Act should be penalised – Parly committee

The committee has reacted to the death of a worker at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein operation on the West Rand.

FILE: Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein operation near Carletonville. Picture: www.sibanyestillwater.com

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament's mineral resources committee says mines that contravene the Safety Act should be penalised.

The committee has reacted to the death of a worker at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein operation on the West Rand.

A preliminary investigation conducted by the company has revealed the 35-year-old man died after being caught in a scraper path machine.

The committee says it will collaborate with the Mineral Resources Department to draft a mine and safety act.

Committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo says other means of accountability other than prosecution should be considered.

“We need to go beyond the criminal procedure matter, deduct points, give the licence. Parts of the conditions in the licence must include your mine’s health and safety record. And once your mine’s health and safety record project that we’re not performing well, then there should be consequences.”

The committee has told the department it’s still seeking details on various inquiries into deaths at mines.

The committee is also calling for strong action against Sibanye-Stillwater, including possibly suspending the mining company's operating licence.

Luzipo has sent condolences to the family and friends of the latest victim.

“It’s with shock, sadness and an element of hopelessness [to hear of this death]. The big question here is that is there any commitment to make it a point that this thing is resolved?”

Committee chairperson Zet Luzipho says the company should be placed under curatorship following the latest death of the mineworker.

“Just last week we were there talking about the incident that happened when five workers lost their lives and now to get this news again that another mineworker has lost his life is quite shocking.”

Luzipo says drastic action is now necessary.

“We’re looking also at speeding up the process of bringing the bill to Parliament, so we can see how we’re able to fix the legislation in this case."

Earlier this month, five mineworkers died at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof Ikamva Mine.

The tragedy brings the number of Sibanye miners killed to 21 since the beginning of this year.

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