The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa says that Sibanye-Stillwater where five mine workers recently passed away is threatening to take legal action against the union for their media utterance on the mine deaths.
The union has blamed the mine for the recent deaths calling the mine a ‘killing field’.
“We are not going to massage Sibanye when it is busy killing [people] and their mines become a killing field of all the black mine workers,” said Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa.
According to AMCU the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) reportedly ordered the closing of the shaft at the mine, however, a manager still forced workers to go underground.
On Thursday, Amcu issued an open letter where it further alleges that it requested the mine to update it on the mine deaths incidents when they occur, but that has not happened.
Amcu said that it relies on its sub-structures for the information.
Sibanye-Stillwater mine head of corporate affairs, James Wellsted confirmed the legal actions against Amcu to news channel, Afro Word View on Thursday.
He said that the mine was taking legal action against Amcu ‘for their incorrect and untrue statements that they have made in the media,”
Wellsted said that this was specifically for “ the latest incident they said that DMR had requested that we close that entire shaft of Ikamva Shaft, that was incorrect, there was only one working area where the safety inspector at DMR asked us to close pending remedial actions, so that was wrong,’ he said.
He said that it was also not true that the mine does not update the union regarding mine accidents as Amcu claimed. “It’s totally wrong as well, we often inform the union and other stakeholders as well,”
This comes after the recent mine accident where five miners died at the Sibanye-Stillwater’s Kloof operations. The body of the fifth missing miner was recovered on Thursday morning.
Five miners had entered an abandoned working area on Monday where four of the five miners passed away on the same day. The mine workers succumbed to heat and gas exposure.
The mine rescue team began with the search on the fifth body since Monday where he was successfully recovered on Thursday morning.
Following the incident, AMCU called on the President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in amending mine safety legislation in order to curb the deaths at mines.