Labour department to probe Vaal plant explosion

Mpho Koka Journalist
An ArcelorMittal plant.
An ArcelorMittal plant.
Image: Robert Tshabalala

The department of employment and labour will launch an investigation into the explosion at the ArcelorMittal plant in Vanderbiljpark, Vaal, south of Johannesburg, that left three people dead.

On Wednesday about 2am, a portion of a 90m stack at one of the company’s coke batteries failed and fell onto the control room in which the three people were working. Workers were then trapped under the rubble. This resulted in an explosion at the plant.

Speaking to Sowetan earlier, minister Thulas Nxesi said officials from his department and in the province, including the chief inspector in the labour department, visited the plant and met with the company’s management and various workers’ unions.

“We cannot at this stage state what was the cause of this tragedy. We are going to start with our own investigation as the department of labour. We also know that they [ArcelorMittal] have their internal investigation and we don’t want to interfere with that,” said Nxesi. 

Nxesi also said he visited the families of the deceased and extended condolences on behalf of the department.

“We met with the families and extended our condolences to them. They lost their breadwinners, husbands and fathers. This is very unfortunate,” he said.

The three people who died were workers at the plant and are yet to be identified.

The company has since launched their own investigation.

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