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Union calls for Ramaphosa’s intervention as death toll in ‘gassing’ incident at Kloof mine rises to four

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The death toll in a reported “gassing” incident at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof operations has risen to four with three more mineworkers found dead on Monday‚ the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said.

It said one worker was still missing.

“AMCU received reports from its health and safety desk that another three workers were found at Ikamva Shaft. After a reported gassing incident‚ five workers were trapped‚ and one body was recovered this morning. This means that four mineworkers have died‚ and a further one is still missing.

“Even though the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) reportedly ordered the closing of the shaft‚ a manager still forced workers to go underground‚” the trade union said.

“This brings the total number of deaths at the operations of Sibanye-Stillwater this year‚ to a shocking total of 19‚” it added.

AMCU appealed for urgent intervention by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The union again calls for the urgent intervention of the State President to address this tragic state of affairs‚ by amongst others amending the safety legislation to enable greater rights to refuse in hazardous situations.

“Previously AMCU has attempted to garner all kinds of support to address this current state of affairs‚ including requesting interventions by Mining Minister Gwede Mantashe and President Cyril Ramaphosa. This has not yet yielded results.

“We now call upon President Ramaphosa to urgently intervene and address this issue. AMCU would like to see the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) amended to give more power to workers and trade unions to address safety issues‚ in order to counter the power of mining bosses.”

Sibanye-Stillwater confirmed the deaths of three employees but said mine rescue teams were still searching for two employees.

The company said in a statement: “Sibanye-Stillwater regrets to advise that there has been an incident today at its Kloof Ikamva shaft involving five employees who entered an abandoned working place. Sadly‚ three employees have been retrieved and declared deceased. Mine rescue teams are still searching for two employees.

“Sibanye-Stillwater expresses their deepest condolences to the family‚ friends and colleagues of the deceased employees.

“The Department of Mineral Resources and all the unions have been informed.

“An update will be provided when more information is available.”

[source: Times Live]
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