06/05/2018 08:29 SAST | Updated 06/05/2018 08:32 SAST

ANC Says Mines Should Pay More Attention To Safety

This follows the Sibanye-Stillwater tragedy in which seven mine workers were killed.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

The Sibanye-Stillwater mine tragedy must serve as an urgent reminder to mining companies to pay more attention to mine safety, the ANC said on Saturday.

Seven of the 13 mineworkers, who were trapped at the mine's Masakhane shaft on May 3 after a seismic event, have been confirmed dead.

A search and rescue team only managed to rescue six miners.

"We hope that the latest tragedy will shake mining companies into prioritising the safety of workers," said party spokesperson Pule Mabe.

He said the party wished to join the mining unions in their call for mining companies to improve safety measures at their operations.

"There must be a total overhaul of safety measures in all mining operations. Among other things, mining companies have a responsibility to ensure that effective rescue plans are in place," he said in a statement.

The ANC also urged mining companies to put the lives of workers "above profits".

"The safety, health and well-being of workers cannot be sacrificed at the altar of greed and profit. Mining companies must be compelled to invest in safety measures as part of the long-term strategy to prevent such tragedies from happening in future. The department of mining resources must be uncompromising in its enforcement of safety measures in the mines," said Mabe.

He said they were confident that the Minister of Mining Resources Gwede Mantashe would ensure a speedy and thorough investigation of the incident in order to prevent similar accidents from happening in future.

Mantashe described the incident at the mine as a disaster.