Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 05 October 2011 – Eskom officials were included with representatives of the Chamber of Mines and the departments of Labour and Mineral Resources, when about 3 500 mineworkers submitted a memorandum of grievances on health and safety in the mining industry.
The recipients collectively agreed to work together to reduce work-related fatalities.
The march was organised by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in remembrance of mineworkers killed on duty, Sapa reports. NUM president Senzeni Zokwana said 97 mineworkers had died so far this year. “In the construction sector, 12 workers were killed and another 17 workers were killed in the energy sector,” he added.
The union called on the three affected industries to allow employees to refuse to work in unsafe conditions. It also demanded that the Mine Health and Safety Act be reviewed to allow the National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute mine managers for the deaths of workers.
The NUM wanted unions to have the power of electing health and safety inspectors.
The union said the mining industry was frustrating and delaying enquiries into deaths by appointing lawyers and private pathologists. It wanted the enquiries to be held by people working in the industry.
NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka has threatened that subsequent strikes would cause “a total shutdown of the economy”.