Stern warning issued for unsafe mines

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pretoria - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu says her department will not hesitate to stop unsafe mines from operating in order to save workers' lives.

According to Shabangu, from 1 January to 15 August this year, about 76 workers have lost their lives.
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club yesterday, Shabangu expressed concern about the carnage at the country's mines.

"It appears that most of these fatalities are related to increased production in the gold and platinum sectors," she said.

"We are also very concerned about the lack of improvement in cases of TB, Silicosis as well as noise induced diseases."

Shabangu said her department is currently reviewing the Mine Health and Safety Act in order to strengthen enforcement and remove any ambiguities.

She warned that her department will continue to take hard stance on non-compliance with safety issues.

In June, Shabangu announced that her department is to tackle mine safety by creating regional inspectorates after an 8% increase in mine fatalities.

With regard to the issue of nationalisation of mines, Shabangu said government will engage its various structures before taking a final decision.

"In the meantime, we will implement fully and without equivocation the policies of government as they currently stand. We will implement them as we believe they are perfectly placed to help us deal with the pressing challenges."

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