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Press Statement, 25 May 2022
NUM National Health and Safety Committee (NAHSCO) media statement post the quarterly meeting held on 19th to 20th May 2022 at Muldersdrifts
The National Union of Mineworkers Health and Safety Committee (NAHSCO) held its quarterly meeting and reflected on the state of health and safety across all sectors where the NUM organises i.e. mining, energy, construction and metal sectors.
The meeting noted that there is reluctance from the government to prosecute the CEOs for their company's non-compliance with the Mine Health and Safety Act. CEO's must be charged for any injury or life lost in the mines. If some CEOs like uncaring, unremorseful Neal Froneman can be rewarded with huge amounts like R300 million whilst refusing to give workers an increase of R1000, why not hold them accountable when a miner is injured or life is lost in the mines?
The NAHSCO has noted with great concern the increasing number of fatalities in the mining industry. This is unacceptable and it has to stop. The NUM had observed that even during the height of Covid-19 this industry continued to record more fatalities between 2020 and 2021. Whilst workers are toiling in dangerous conditions, those in air-conditioned offices continue to earn R300m and refuse to grant workers R1000 wage increase. The industry has normalized exorbitant salaries to CEO's which sometimes is more than the budget allocated for the fall of ground research and work.
"The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) as a regulator remains critical in ensuring the health and safety of workers. It will never be enough to NUM until the end of the fatal incidents in the working places. It cannot be correct that the DMRE only employs 150 inspectors. If the government regards mining as a critical industry for the country's economic growth, the DMRE must be fully capacitated to inspect all the mines across the country," said Masibulele Naki, NUM National Health and Safety Secretary.
"It is worrisome that the DMRE has fewer inspectors than the Department of Employment and Labour. With more than 2000 inspectors countrywide, the very same Department of Employment and Labour is failing to provide adequate inspections to workplaces and there is insufficient consequence management for employers who don't adhere to regulations. NAHSCO also discussed and resolved that some medical examination systems which are outdated in the mining industry like Heat tolerance stress must be abolished (#Umshongolo must fall)," Naki added.
The committee noticed that there is no attention by the government to the compliance of the Construction and Metal (Engineering) Sector. This is unacceptable that the lives of workers are taken cheaply at the expense of maximising profit. It is the very same case at Eskom where the majority of Contractors hired are not adhering to health and safety protocols.
The committee further noted the need for NUM to intensify and equip health and safety structures. The NUM believes that the health and safety in the workplace must be treated with clear class consciousness.
The National Union of Mineworkers7 Rissik Street.Cnr Frederick JohannesburgTel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257Twitter: @Num_Media