“Sibanye miners trapped underground were failed by management” – PCMR
The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources slammed the management of Sibanye Gold Mine, and claimed that the miners trapped underground during Thursday and Friday were failed by their superiors.
A total of 955 mine workers found themselves trapped underground during a storm, because the adverse weather conditions had disrupted the power supply. Inexplicably, the Free State mine didn’t have a backup generator to compensate for the outage.
The company in charge of operations, Sibanye-Stillwater, are heavily reliant on Eskom’s power supply. With no self-sufficiency, there was no initial plan B to restore power down the shaft.
This is something that the Parliamentary body has deemed unacceptable. Sahlulele Luzipo is the Chairperson of this committee, and he even went as far as to say the management “could face charges for attempted murder” through his statement:
“The good news [of no lives being lost] will not absolve the mine management from being held accountable.”
“The Committee expects the Department of Mineral Resources to act swiftly, and take drastic actions to such acts of carelessness. This includes exploring possibilities of laying criminal charges against the management for attempted murder.”
“The Department of Mineral resources have a lot to explain as to why its safety inspectors failed to detect that the mine had no back up system equivalent to its operation.”
There were scenes of elation and joy when every single miner trapped underground was lifted to safety, as Eskom managed to restore power to the damaged reserves. Many were taken to hospitals and churches, and some are set to return
Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane is set to visit the Free State mine on Friday afternoon, to determine what the department must do to ensure the safety of all mine workers in the future.
The DA also released a statement on Friday calling for the mine’s emergency plans to be verified before operations resume.