The National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa) yesterday said mining accidents had reached crisis proportions. A miner dies almost every day.
Numsa spokesman Lesiba Seshoka was reacting to an accident in which a miner died at Kroondal Platinum Mine in North West on Saturday.
According to Numsa the initial report said the worker, who has not been identified, died when rock fell on him.
Seshoka said 221 workers died in mines last year and 116 miners have died so far this year.
He said thousands of workers were also being sent home every year because they were unable to perform their duties after sustaining injuries.
He accused the industry of negligence resulting in loss of life.
"We are in crisis," Seshoka said. "This is against President Thabo Mbeki's order last October to have an audit to check safety standards. We are nearing another October but the report is not out yet."
He said there was no time frame within which the report must be completed.
"We have a situation in this country where they blast and drill on the same day. This is dangerous," Seshoka said.
The unions have been pushing employers to educate their workers about underground safety. Some mining houses do not provide basic safety gear for their employees.
A man, only identified as Pino, refused to comment on what Kroondal Platinum Mine was doing, saying he was in the shaft where the accident happened.