Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and three of his officials are being sued for R26.8 million in their personal capacity by Sibanye Platinum after inspectors stopped production at Kroondal mine, Business Day reported.
Sibanye Platinum, a subsidiary of Sibanye Gold, has served summons on Zwane, the acting chief inspector of mines Xolile Mbonambi, and two senior inspectors in the North West. Production was stopped for safety reasons in August 2016.
Mbonambi told the publication that the department had not received any details of the summonses.
Zwane said: "Our differences should not be taken as people at war with each other. We are not. We are not at war with Sibanye, or AngloGold or any other person. We are engaging to ensure the real beneficiaries of our laws in SA benefit."
The company said the closure resulted in damages of R26.8 million. It further stated that the three were "jointly or severally liable to compensate" Sibanye for damages and that the defendants had so far ignored written demands to pay.
The summonses relate to an incident where an employee was killed by the vehicle he had failed to properly immobilise with a handbrake and stop blocks at one of the five shafts at the mine. The publication further reported that the inspector of mines in North West, Clifford Dlamini, conducted an inspection of the mine, finding various faults with vehicles having sub-standard or missing seatbelts, a missing door latch, checklists improperly completed, an underground haulage way too narrow for vehicles to pass each other and a number of fire extinguishers that had not been checked. The stoppage was later amended to affect just the shaft where this incident happened.
The judges are said to have raised the idea of officials being sought for damages in their personal capacities.