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Gone but not forgotten as NUM commemorates Vaal Reefs Disaster

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Gone but not forgotten as NUM commemorates Vaal Reefs Disaster

This month of May, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will once again remember 104 mineworkers who perished at No2 Shaft, Vaal Reefs Gold Mining Company Limited.

This unfortunate disaster, which took place on the 10th of May 1995, is still fresh in the minds of most mineworkers and it resulted in the establishment of the Vaal Reefs Disaster Trust. The NUM and Anglo Gold established a trust to assist and care for the wives and dependents of the deceased.

"We should remember the lives of those comrades who died so that there should never be a recurrence of such disasters in future," says NUM Health and Safety Secretary Erick Gcilitshana.

A locomotive fell into a lift shaft at the edge of 56 levels, landing on the cage and causing it to plunge 460 metres to the bottom of the shaft. It was history's worst ever elevator disaster.

This tragedy brought two key changes to the mining industry. Firstly, the immediate implementation of the new Health and Safety Act and secondly, for the first time ever, the stakeholders took care of the dependants after the death of breadwinners.

“Those heroes might be gone but they are not forgotten. We dedicate the 10th of May every year to remember them. To us as the NUM, the tragedy is a lesson and our believe is that issues of health and safety at the workplace should be top priority,” explains Gcilitshana.

For more detailed information, please contact:

Erick Gcilitshana: NUM Health and Safety Secretary at 082 809 3105
Ngoako Matsha: Media Officer at 083 809 3251


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Tel: 011 377 2111
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