Sun Oct 23 05:22:43 CAT 2016

Workers claim they're being neglected

By unknown | Apr 26, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

Some present and former employees of a magnesite mining company in Limpopo claim they are dying from magnesite-related illnesses.

The employees from Syferfontein Carbonates at Folovhodwe, outside Musina, are claiming they are sick because they were not provided with safety clothing to prevent them from being exposed to hazardous smoke and dust while they were working.

"Some of us are sick, others injured and some have even become disabled and left without any compensation," said one who did not want to be named.

The workers claim they were forced to use their own clothes because the owner of the company didn't provide them with safety clothing such as uniforms, boots and helmets to prevent them from inhaling the smoke and dust.

They also told Sowetan that the owner of the company became angry when he found out they had gone to the local hospital.

They claimed that even if he took them to see a doctor himself he would withhold the results.

Robert Tshisevhe, a former employee, claims he was dismissed for complaining about being ill. He said an X-ray confirmed he was was suffering from a magnesite-related illness.

Tshisevhe said the doctor advised him to do another job where he wouldn't be exposed to smoke and dust, but the mine manager reportedly ignored the doctor.

Tshisevhe lost his job without being paid his severance package. He took the matter to the labour court two years ago but is still waiting.

Another miner who preferred to remain anonymous complained about the continuing abuse of the miners, and wondered why government had remained quiet .

Labour department spokesman Zolisa Sigabi, said they were looking into the matter. However, Sigabi said it was not the duty of his department to monitor health-related issues.

Plant manager Ferdi Snyders could not be reached for comment. He didn't respond to messages left on his phone.


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