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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Govt looks to complete Impala mine tragedy probe in three months

11 workers died at the Rustenburg mine when a cage carrying 86 of them suffered a fault resulting in it plunging to the bottom of the shaft.

Government has set a three-month deadline to conclude the probe into the tragedy at Impala Platinum Mine.

Eleven mineworkers died at the Rustenburg-based mine when a cage carrying 86 mineworkers suffered a mechanical fault in its conveyance system, resulting in it plunging to the bottom of the shaft.

David Msiza, senior investigative representative from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said investigations will take three months or more, as some of the affected members are still hospitalised.

Watch Gwede Mantashe speaking about the Impala Mine tragedy

Mine safety

Minister Gwede Mantashe said Impala has committed to work with the families and the department.

Mantashe said when a mining disaster like this happens, it is an opportunity for trade unions to make inputs on how to improve workers’ safety.

“We are moving towards zero harm, and we can only achieve that when we work together. When there is a disaster like this one, we pay attention to it, [and] draw lessons from it. What we’re not going to do is stand on tables and shout about it. We don’t campaign on disaster,” he said.

ALSO READ: Impala Mine tragedy: ‘If I was president of this country heads would roll’

Ramaphosa condolences

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his sadness at the death of 11 mineworkers and injuries affecting workers at the Impala Platinum Mine Shaft 11.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the president offers his condolences to the families of the deceased mineworkers.

“The president extends his thoughts to the management and staff of Implats and wishes the injured workers, especially those who are in critical care, a full recovery.

“President Ramaphosa calls on all stakeholders to assist the Chief Inspector of Mines in the investigation that will be undertaken in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act. This process is vital to protecting mineworkers in line with the industry’s Zero Harm objectives and enabling operational continuity in mines,” Magwenya said.

Darkest day

Implats CEO Nico Muller on Tuesday described the incident as devastating.

“This is the darkest day in the history of Implats and our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devastating accident,” said Muller.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the accident that claimed the lives of 11 miners at the Impala Platinum Mine could have been avoided, adding that it was due to “pure negligence”.

“There is no human error, it is pure negligence. This thing is expected to carry workers on a daily basis to and from underground. If these things are not properly serviced, people are obsessed with production they are not going to address the issues of safety in mines,” said Geoffrey Moatshe, NUM Rustenburg’s regional secretary.

ALSO READ: Death of miners ‘darkest day in history of Implats’ − CEO