Sibanye Stillwater must answer questions about cause of mine deaths
3 July 2018
Today I met with families of miners that work at Sibanye Stillwater’s Kloof operation in Westonaria. The operation has been the site of at least four separate mining accidents since 7 February 2018.
I met the family of Linganani Mngadi who died, together with four other miners in the same day, at Sibanye Stillwater’s Kloof Ikamva mine shaft last month. There is no solace for a parent that lost a child or for a family who has lost those closest to them.
It is clear from my engagement with the family that Sibanye Stillwater has yet to answer questions about the actual cause of the deaths and whether or not any of the officials of the mine company have been held accountable for the deaths.
The DA has paid close attention to Sibanye Stillwater’s media releases following the many incidents at their mines and have been concerned about frequent references to human error, seismic events or other factors that seemingly absolve the company.
Yet, Sibanye Stillwater CEO, Neal Froneman, is also quoted today as saying that “[i]n my entire 40-year career in mining, I have never experienced anything like this. I am deeply saddened and traumatised to have lost so many [employees] in this way”. Froneman was previously quoted as saying that the company had seen a “regression in safety performance”.
With nine accidents and 21 fatalities at Sibanye Stillwater’s operations in 2018 alone, the time has come for Sibanye Stillwater to take South Africa into its confidence and illustrate its dedication to transparency by urgently briefing the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources. Parliament is an appropriate forum to address concerns over safety at Sibanye Stillwater’s operations and the mining sector more generally.
The DA is alive to the fact that there was an increase in mining fatalities in South Africa for the first time in a decade in 2017. It is not too to hold those who are responsible for ensuring the safety of miners accountable to prevent more deaths.
Issued by Solly Malatsi, DA National Spokesperson, 3 July 2018