SA mine fatalities continue to climb

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The number of mine workers killed in the country's mines jumped to 165 when two miners were killed at Harmony's Tshepong mine this week.

The deaths at the mine between Welkom and Odendaalsrus happened in two separate accidents.

However, trade union Solidarity still feels that Harmony Gold has good safety records.

Deputy general secretary of Solidarity, Dirk Hermann, said: "The safety measures that were implemented by the trade unions and Harmony management have begun bearing fruit. There is still room for improvement, but big strides in the right direction have been taken this past year. It is very unfortunate that the year is ending on such a sad note."

The number of fatalities in the industry so far this year shows a decline compared to the total of 221 recorded last year.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said good safety results over a certain period of time did not justify workers' deaths.

"Last year 3200 workers were trapped underground at Harmony Gold operations and this resulted in a call for safety audits in South African mines.

"It is unfortunate that we are still waiting for those audit results to be released because it is the only thing that would give a clearer picture of what is happening on the ground."