Stop mine deaths - NUM

Stop deaths: Senzeni Zokwana
Stop deaths: Senzeni Zokwana

THE National Union of Mineworkers has warned that unless priority is given to miners' safety there will always be fatalities.

Union president Senzeni Zokwana said yesterday at the Mine Health and Safety Council Summit in Johannesburg that strong leadership was needed to avoid deaths.

"Unless CEOs take these matters as seriously as meeting targets, we'll always have these problems," Zokwana said.

"Nobody should be put under pressure to work for profit, and undermine safety conditions."

Chief inspector of mines David Msiza said the high number of deaths at the mines was a matter that should be looked into urgently.

"Our safety track record is a matter of great concern, 168 workers died in our mines in 2009 and in 2010, there was a slight improvement with 127 workers reported dead," Msiza said.

"So far we have had 116 fatalities this year and that is too much. And though we have improved over the years, we need to be consistent. It is no use improving one year only to regress the following year."

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