A horrific incident at an Implats mine in Rustenburg claimed the lives of 12 miners and severely injured 74 others on November 27. The workers were in a lift heading to the surface from a depth of 1,000 metres when the lift unexpectedly reversed, descending and crashing to the bottom of the shaft.
The department of mineral resources and energy will investigate the accident within three months. Regulations mandate regular checks and maintenance for lifts, requiring any identified risks to be rectified before further use.
Unions like the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) expressed shock and concern. They called for greater commitment from mining companies to prioritise health and safety, emphasising the importance of holding companies accountable.
Unions are demanding mining companies like Implats ensure safe working conditions for miners and demand adherence to international safety conventions ratified by South Africa.