Criminal sanctions not attached to new rules, putting workers at risk: Amcu

The union has approached the court to compel Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to issue binding regulations.

Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have submitted to the Labour Court that if criminal sanctions were not attached to the new rules from the Mineral Resources Department, mineworkers' health and lives remained at risk.

The union has approached the court to compel Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to issue binding regulations.

This comes as mines have now been given the green light to operate at 50% production.

In a virtual court sitting, Amcu’s lawyer Alan Dodson said the regulations gazetted by the Departments of Cooperative Governance and Mineral Resources were vague and inadequate.

He argued that Section 9 of the Mine Health and Safety Act gave power to the chief inspector to issue guidelines and Section 76 allowed the minister to declare a health hazard.

But the department’s lawyers have argued that the Mine Health and Safety Act did not apply to COVID-19 as it was not by a definition an occupational health matter but rather pertained to public health.

They insisted the current regulations would suffice and did in fact ensure the health and safety of mineworkers.