The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is profoundly humbled by the principled and selfless commitment of the panel presiding over the public enquiry probing into the cause of debilitating disease at Ferrometal company Assmang in Cato Ridge, near Durban.
Labour Department presiding officer Vusi Sibisi and his panel exhibited fortitude and overwhelming affection for communities and the affected families of the workers incapacitated by manganism when he rejected with contempt demands made by Assmang CEO Brian Broekman to recuse themselves.
The enquiry has time and again suffered many setbacks and further postponement would indeed prejudice employees and communities in Cato Ridge as it is often said â€œjustice delayed is justice deniedâ€.
Assmang lawyers, on Tuesday singled out reasonable â€œbiasness suspicions and lack of open mindednessâ€ on some of the panel officers as the sole reason for the need to recuse Sibisi and the panel from investigating high risk incidents of manganism.
Numsa leadership appreciates the firm decision by the panel to proceed with the investigation without further delays.
The demand is one of those delaying tactics which showed that they were never prepared in the first place to participate in those discussions in good-faith.
Two more metalworkers were reportedly died Monday of suspected manganism. A third victim, among the six people who died in Sunday explosion includes Bheki Ndlovu who died on Monday of serious burns.
Ndlovu was reportedly forced to report for work after being granted extended year-long leave for sickness related to manganism.
Other workers who died in the Sunday blast include; Matuna Zibuse, Mtolo Ganti Alfred, Chumisa Mzomhle, Kubeka Vusumuzi and Ntlantla Ngcobo.
Numsa also welcomed independent expert Nick Hanwood from Cape Town who availed himself at the request of the union to be part of the panel investigating the cause of the massive Sunday furnace explosion.
Operations were shutdown after workers protested that they would return after extensive risk assessments were conducted by independent experts.
And, labour inspectors were expected to allow the furnaces to be operational once all the parties satisfied themselves that it was safe to continue to resume operations.
For further information contact:
Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson
Cell phone: 082 9407116
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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