Home / Observatory / News / Amcu Says Sibanye-stilwater Deaths Are 'a Crime Against Humanity'


Another death at Sibanye-Stillwater's Khomanani shaft in Driefontein has two of South Africa's mining unions calling for amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA).

A spokesperson for the mine, James Wellsted, said a 35-year-old winch operator was hit by a scraper after he had entered a gully while busy cleaning during the night shift.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson, Livhuwani Mammburu, said, "The Mine Health and Safety Act must be amended so that mine bosses [can] also be held responsible. They must be prosecuted and sent to jail.

"It is a very worrying situation at Sibanye and it shows that the company does not care about the mineworkers and the health and safety precautions."

Mammburu added that a "simple investigation" into the matter was not enough and that the union was on its way to the mine to assist with investigations.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said the current spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater is a crime against humanity and has called for urgent intervention.

Joseph Mathunjwa, AMCU president, wants Mining Minister Gwede Mantashe and President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene, specifically look at amending section 23 of the MHSA.

"This section gives workers the right to refuse to work in dangerous conditions, and the union [AMCU] wants it amended to give more power to workers and trade unions to counter the power of mining bosses."

According to him, the current stipulations are too open-ended and that AMCU is already drafting proposals which include "specific procedures to strengthen section 23".

"Currently, workers fear victimisation and unfair disciplinary action when calling upon this right. They fear being bullied and intimidated for making a stand."

"The obvious other fear relates to loss of income," he said.

Mathunjwa said more investment was needed for the training of workers to recognise "hazardous working conditions".

This incident brings the death toll at the company's operations to 21 this year alone. That's almost half of the fatalities in the entire mining industry combined to date.

AMCU will be raising the health and safety concerns at the Sibanye-Stillwater's Safety Summit, which is expected to take place on Friday.

Check out the video below for a timeline of incidents this year at the various Sibanye-Stillwater facilities.

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