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Press Statement, 08 December 2019
THE NUM IS DEEPLY ANGERED BY THE DECISION ALLEGEDLY TAKEN BY THE LILY-WHITE PROTO TEAM AT TAU LEKOA MINE THAT LED TO THE DEATH OF FOUR MINEWORKERS
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is highly angered by the reports alleging that the lily-white proto team at Tau Lekoa gold mine in Orkney, North West, deliberately stopped the team leaders and winch drivers from rescuing the four mineworkers who were still trapped underground at the mine. This resulted in the death of four mineworkers found dead on Saturday evening.
The team leaders and winch drivers who are members of the NUM briefed the NUM President Joseph Montisetse when joined them underground on Saturday that after the fall of ground at Tau Lekoa Mine that led to five mineworkers being trapped underground on Friday afternoon, they immediately rescued the fifth mineworker but were deliberately stopped from rescuing the four other trapped mineworkers by the lily-white proto team.
"Our members told us that if they had been allowed to rescue those four mineworkers on Friday afternoon, they could have been found and rescued alive. These lily-white proto teams do not care about the lives of black mineworkers. They care about making money than saving the lives of the trapped black mineworkers. It is our members who rescued the only mineworker who was found alive not the lily-white proto teams. As the NUM, we are calling for the total transformation of the lily-white proto teams in the mining industry in South Africa," said Joseph Montisetse, NUM President.
"These lily-white proto teams only care about eating and drinking underground while the brave black mineworkers are the ones in the coalface to try and save the lives of their colleagues. The black mineworkers are the ones who have the skills even if they are not trained like these useless lily-white proto teams. The team leaders and winch drivers know the conditions underground better than these lily-white proto teams. We are calling on the mining industry and the government to train and give these black mineworkers an opportunity and allow them to rescue workers in such a situation," Montisetse added.
The NUM is also extremely concerned that there was no escape route in the working area where the four mineworkers were found dead. It is a sorry state of affairs that miners do dangerous work and get paid peanuts while in actual fact dangerous work like mining should be well remunerated. The NUM strongly condemns the employer’s actions in not following proper safety procedures in pursuit of beating production targets.
The NUM conveys its deepest condolences to the colleagues and families of the deceased during this difficult time. May their soul rest in peace.
For more detailed information, please contact:
Joseph Montisetse: NUM President:082 809 2391
Masibulele Naki: NUM Matlosana Regional Secretary: 073 333 7745.
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Twitter: @Num Media