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Press Statement, 02 April 2020
FATAL INCIDENT AT VILLAGE MAIN REEF WEST GOLD PLANT IN MATLOSANA
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply saddened that its member collapsed and died on the scene at the Village Main Reef West Gold Plant in Matlosana. The incident happened today early at 5 am inside the recovery room. The deceased was not part of the essential service at the mine. He was called to come back to work today.
"As the NUM, we believe that this incident could have been prevented if the company was put on care and maintenance as part of the 21 days of lockdown.. The mine management should be held responsible for the death of our member because they were running full production instead of the mine being put on care and maintenance. Our member died early this morning at 5 am inside the recovery room which was not declared safe by the safety officer," said Joseph Montisetse, NUM President.
"Last week Friday, the NUM agreed with the management that the mine will be put on care and maintenance and 28 employees will be part of the care and maintenance. The NUM was surprised when the management called to inform the union that the list of employees who were part of the care and maintenance has been reduced to 15. To our surprise, the Safety Officer, the NUM Secretary and chairperson of the branch names were removed from the list of the workers who were put on care and maintenance. We believe that this is what led to our member's death today because the mine did not want to be exposed for running the full production at the plant," Montisetse added.
The NUM calls on the mine management to put back the Safety Officer, NUM branch leadership especially the Secretary and Chairperson names on the care and maintenance list so that they can be able to monitor the situation during the 21 days of lockdown.
The NUM is also extremely disappointed that the Department of Minerals and Energy Director-General Thabo Mokoena was informed that the company was operating as normal, but he never bothered to intervene.
The NUM calls upon the Department of Minerals and Energy to trigger its investigation to the incident and as the NUM we will participate in the investigation to leave no stone unturned.
The NUM is of the view that one death in the industry is just one death too many...production should not and must not be at the expense of mineworkers' lives."
It is unacceptable that mineworkers are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety and that instead they are expected to go to work to die.
The NUM would like to convey its deepest and heartfelt condolences to family and friends of the deceased during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.
For more information, please contact:
Joseph Montisetse: NUM President: 082 809 2391
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Twitter: @Num Media