The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called on the Department of Mineral Resources to investigate the cause of the accident that claimed 11 lives at the Impala Platinum Mine’s Number 11 shaft.
Seventy-five other employees are reported to have sustained injuries and transferred to hospitals in Rustenburg.
The mining company says it is investigating the cause of the accident.
NUM Spokesperson, Livhuwani Mammburu, says this is unacceptable.
“As the National Union of Mineworkers, we are deeply shocked about what happened at Impala yesterday. We are also worried about the health and safety statistics that have gone up this year. It’s a cause of concern and we are calling on the Department of Mineral Resources to get to the bottom of what really happened. We cannot accept a situation where mineworkers go to work and die like this.”
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) says it is yet to get a clear briefing about what transpired at the mine.
Deputy president, Phuthuma Manyathi, says they can only confirm that there was an accident and it resulted in fatalities and injuries.
Manyathi says they are yet to find out what the cause of the accident was.
The union will meet with mine management and the Department of Mineral Resources.
Numsa sends condolences
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has sent condolences to the families of 11 mineworkers who died.
National Spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says, “According to the statement by Implats, the accident occurred when the cage carrying mineworkers to the surface fell. At least 75 people are being treated for injuries in various hospitals in the vicinity. Numsa dips its revolutionary red flag to mourn the loss of these workers. They are not just numbers; they are breadwinners, and they have households and families who love them and depend on them. We send our deepest condolences to their families and friends for this tragic loss of life.”
— NUMSA (@Numsa_Media) November 28, 2023
Bid to lower fatalities blown
Meanwhile, the Minerals Council says the incident has shuttered their ambitions of ending the year with a low number of fatalities.
Spokesperson, Allan Seccombe, says the industry had recorded 41 fatalities by last Friday.
“The Minerals Council member companies gave immediate assistance to Impala, with more than 15 teams, which are specialist rescue teams deployed to the shaft. All available ambulances from other operations were sent to the mine to transport injured employees to nearby hospitals, while paramedics were deployed to give additional medical assistance. This incident gives a terrible blow to our ambition of ending 2023 with fewer fatalities than last year when there were 49 fatalities, which is the lowest on record.”
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