Miners mourn deaths of colleagues

THE deaths of miners due to accidents have become a tradition in the industry, the National Union of Mineworkers said yesterday.

The union made these comments after the deaths of two miners at Driefontein Gold Fields mine near Carletonville on the West Rand.

Eight others were rescued after a rockfall at the mine's No 5 shaft on Saturday morning.

The mine has now been closed until investigations are concluded.

The union said this was the second accident in a week.

NUM national spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said: "We are now planning a mourning day for our members. Last week two miners died there. Mine health and security is still a big issue that needs to be dealt with.

"It's disappointing to learn that another accident has claimed the lives of workers."

He said only five of the eight rescued miners were not injured.

"Three are in hospital and one of them is in a serious condition.

"The two workers died of injuries and their bodies were brought to the surface at about 2am yesterday.

"A ground fall caused rocks to fall and block entrances and exits.

"It is quite a difficult rescue operation as rocks are falling as workers try to get deeper into the mine," Seshoka said.

Last month trade union Solidarity's Reint Dykema said that in total the mining industry was responsible for about 70 deaths this year alone.