The new public protector says she will leave the dispute over the state capture report prepared by h.
AN Assmang manganese boss yesterday denied turning a blind eye to problems leading to the day of an explosion that claimed six lives last year.
This surfaced during the second day of a formal inquiry by the labour department in Pietermaritzburg, into the massive explosion of a furnace at the Assmang plant in Cato Ridge outside Durban.
Workers' attorney Richard Spoor charged that Assmang general manager Princess Thwala and other senior managers had ignored a recurring water leak problem in the furnace that exploded.
"I deny the statement that there were numerous problems during that whole week," said Thwala.
"However, the weekend of the 22nd was full of problems."
The explosion happened on February 24 in the afternoon.
Spoor said there had been recurring problems of water leaks in the furnace before the accident, which resulted in the shutting down of the furnace for repairs.
He said the furnace had lost large quantities of water and that there were problems with the ventilation system during the week before the explosion.
"The leak re-emerged quickly after it was repaired by artisans.
"There was a consistent water leak. It is quite clear that the repairs did not last long," Spoor said.
Spoor said Assmang bosses might not have wanted to shut down the furnace despite the problems because they did not want production to be affected.
He said he had been informed that the company bonuses were linked to production.
"It appears that they continued to operate the furnace even if there were problems because they did not want this to affect their salaries," said Spoor.
"There was a culture of production above safety."
Spoor's claim was rejected by Thwala, who said the foreman would have been more worried about his life than a bonus.
"I strongly object. Our bonus also includes the component of safety."
The hearing continues. - Sapa