Union calls for harsh safety rules

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

"Jail negligent mine managers or fine the mines 10percent of their annual turnover."

This is the call that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will make to Parliament when public hearings into the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Bill begin today.

The bill, which is aimed at reducing the 200 mineworker deaths a year, says mines should pay fines of R1 million if accidents are found to have been caused by their negligence.

At present the Mine Health and Safety Act of 1996 limits the fines, and companies can face up to a maximum of R200000.

Chamber of Mines spokesman Jabu Maphalala would not comment on the NUM's call. But about the proposed R1 million fine he said that "it was inappropriate to place a monetary value on peoples' lives".

The bill also compels mines to keep records of all the workers they employ for 40 years.

But the NUM's Fred Gona said the new bill did not go far enough.

He said there were 4000 injuries on the mines every year.