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Parliament wants harsher punishment for mining companies who neglect worker safety

Miner holding his safety hat.
Miner holding his safety hat.
Image: 123RF/ fesenko

The Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources has called for harsher consequences for mining companies who neglect workers’ health and safety.

The committee said Sibanye-Stillwater mine should face the wrath of the law if it is found to have neglected measures to avert fatalities that occurred last week.

“Although seismic events are a course of nature‚ it is high time that mining companies face serious consequences for neglecting measures for detecting early warning signs. Investigations on the accident should seek to establish the extent to which priority was given to health and safety at the mine‚” said chairperson of the committee Olefile Sefako.

Last Thursday the company reported that 13 miners were trapped underground at its Masakhane mine in Driefontein near Carletonville on the West Rand following three seismic events. Seven of the miners died.

“The committee believe that the right technology for detecting early signs of seismic events could be found if sufficient resources to conduct research were to be made available.”

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