The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) sends its deepest condolences to the loved ones of the six workers who died underground in Limpopo at the Palabora Mining Company’s copper mine on Sunday, after a fire broke out underground in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Mine safety remains a huge problem in our country. A spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations, including a seismic event that killed seven miners in early May, has highlighted this crisis. One death underground is far too many and we have seen shockingly high levels of fatalities in the sector in recent years.
Once again the capitalist system has demonstrated its brutality against the working class. The mining industry does not value the lives of African workers in the sector and that is why we continue to see high numbers of fatalities in the industry.
We call for a full investigation into this incident, and in the sector as a whole. Furthermore, we reinforce calls made by our federation SAFTU for the Mine Health and Safety Act to be amended to allow for the prosecution of mine bosses if workers are killed underground. They must be held personally liable for lives lost underground. Perhaps if this is done, we will begin to see an end to fatalities underground.
The only permanent solution to this crisis is for mines to be nationalised. These are strategic assets which should be placed under the democratic ownership of the working class. They should not be profit driven, and used as vehicles to enrich the elite minority. Instead, they should operate for the benefit of the working class majority and society in general. This is the kind of society we are fighting for with the formation of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party. The SRWP will be a sword and a spear to drive an agenda in the interests of the working class majority, who are the creators of wealth in our society.
The struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi-Majola
NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)