Mining companies and labour representatives found guilty of negligence that puts the lives of miners at risk should be jailed, said Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica on Friday.
Sonjica was speaking at the central committee meeting of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.
"Negligent mines, labour representatives and inspectors have no place in society except in jail. The right to life must be enjoyed by all miners," she said.
She urged miners to exercise their right not to work in conditions they deemed dangerous.
"The fact that no one had been prosecuted for deaths in mines was "very, very bad".
The mines' safety track record was also a matter of great concern.