Wait for mine safety audits is nearly over, says Baleni

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

Results of the long-awaited Presidential Mine Safety Audits report might be made public soon.

This is according to Frans Baleni, the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, who said yesterday he had received this confirmation during a conversation with President Kgalema Motlanthe after the funeral of liberation struggle veteran Cleopas Nsibande last week.

Baleni said yesterday: "The president indicated that he had a look at the safety audits and is waiting for Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica's return from leave so that they could go through them together before making them public.

"We need the safety audits so that we can concentrate on areas of concern. For instance, we know that injuries and fatalities are more in the gold sector followed by platinum. This essentially means we will engage those mining companies based on the risk profile."

According to a spokesperson at the Department of Minerals and Energy, Sonjica is expected back from leave on Monday.

The public release of the mine safety audits is long overdue.

The audits were ordered by former president Thabo Mbeki after 3200 workers were trapped underground at gold producer Harmony Gold's Elandsrand mine, in 2007, when a falling pipe damaged shaft infrastructure.

The scope of the safety audits covers design and maintenance, safety risk management, legal appointments and occupational health and safety policy.