Sun Sep 24 07:15:37 SAST 2017

Motsepe: ‘We are responsible for miners who died at Harmony Gold’

By Naledi Shange | 2017-09-01 15:56:11.0

Billionaire Patrice Motsepe. Picture Credit: Gallo Images

Harmony Gold chairman Patrice Motsepe on Friday said his mine would not shy away from the fact that it was responsible for each of the mine workers under its employ‚ including the five who died underground last week.

He was speaking at the mine’s Carltonville premises after the retrieval of the last two bodies on Thursday. The group had been trapped underground following a seismic fall last Friday.

“Workers should not come to the mines to lose their lives. That is unacceptable. We have to take full responsibility in the sense that they come to us and we are accountable for them‚” Motsepe said.

He vowed that they would work with inspectors to uncover the cause of the accident and whether anything could have been done to prevent it.

“We will do everything to work with the investigators. We have a never ending responsibility to never stop trying to create the safest environment for workers‚” he said. “Whatever will come out of that hearing‚ we will never change the responsibility we have. It’s our responsibility‚” Motsepe added.

The mine’s chief executive Peter Steenkamp‚ Department of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and trade union representatives attended the press conference.

Motsepe said the leaders of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Mineworkers had suggested a change in the way families were compensated for losing their breadwinners‚ which the company would look into.

“We should not‚ just as is the culture‚ replace or provide a job to the family because a worker has lost his life. We should do much‚ much more and the suggestion from the leaders is that we should educate the youngest (child of the deceased mineworker) at the time up to tertiary level‚” Motsepe said.