'MINES STILL UNSAFE'
Five miners have died in the past week, prompting unions to ask if April's Safety Summit, organised by Anglo American, has yielded any results.
Two workers died at the Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena and Amadelbult mines, one at Simmer & Jack's Buffelsfontein mine in North West and the other two at AngloGold's Mponeng and Tau Tona mines.
Lesiba Seshoka, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson, said: "It is very disappointing that this happens at a time when mining companies are arguing for leniency on penalties.
"This shows that they will continue to kill our people."
The union is requesting strict penalties on mines that do not adhere to safety regulations.
"NUM is reiterating its position that the minimum penalty should be R1million and the maximum should be 10percent of their annual returns," he said.
Simon Tebele, spokesperson for Anglo Platinum said: "After the accidents occurred, blasting and drilling were shut from 3pm on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday.
"We have a safety first approach and it has to be understood that this was an accident."
Since January there have been 11 fatalities at Anglo Platinum, which had 25 fatalities last year.
Frans Baleni, NUM general secretary, said: "We will continue to mobilise our members to put pressure on management with regard to safety."
He said that negligence responsibility should be borne by all, including senior management.
"On Thursday, there will be no work at Mponeng as our members will be engaging in a mourning practice.
"This will teach management that profits should never be equated to workers' lives and for this we are not giving notice because they also don't give notice before killing our members," said Baleni.
Alan Fine, spokesperson for AngloGold Ashanti, said: "In instances like these we always have discussions with the NUM to find a suitable solution and that is exactly what we will do this time around."