An investigation into the high risk ferrometal producer Assmang’s explosion which recently killed six metalworkers, has found documentary evidence that management was alerted to the possible “loss of life and major damage” two days before the fatal explosion.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has unearthed evidence of management complicity and flouting of regulations after it commissioned investigation by an independent expert to establish the cause of the furnace 6 explosion at Assmang in Cato Ridge, Pietermaritzburg on February 21, 2008.
Numsa’s shocking expose’
What remains stunning is the reason behind management’s rejection of consulting engineer’s advice to shut down furnace No. 6 after it had been made clear that severe damage to the suspension mantle created extremely dangerous situation.
It was stated clearly that there is a very real possibility that the damage will increase to the extent that lower part of the mantle will break loose and would probably result in a major explosion.
On the basis of this documentary evidence, we demand that the management must come clean or else the department must take drastic action against the company.
With regard to the possibility of repairing the damaged components of the furnace mantle electrodes within five weeks, the union has established that the management chose to endanger the lives of innocent metalworkers and continued with production in extremely damaged furnace just for the sake of profits.
The union is still investigating among others, the whereabouts of the minutes of the management meeting that discussed the consulting engineers’ report two days before the fatal explosion of the furnace.
A final detailed report of the union will be released soon.
For further information contact:
Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson
Cell phone: 082 9407116