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Mine death at South Deep places restructuring on hold - City Press

Thursday, 18 October 2018

The death of a mineworker at South Deep last week resulted in the company placing its restructuring process – which could see up to 1 560 more jobs cut – on hold for a week, Sven Lunsche, a Gold Fields spokesperson said.

Gold Fields owns South Deep, a gold mine located in Westonia, west of Johannesburg.

In a note to South Deep staff this week, of which City Press has a copy, Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland said that Ananias Mosololi had ‘tragically succumbed to his injuries early Saturday following an accident that occurred early on Friday morning”.

Holland said that Mosololi operated a load, haul, dump (LHD) machine underground.

“The accident occurred when Mr Mosololi got stuck between the cabin of his vehicle and its door. He was airlifted to hospital but sadly passed away on Saturday morning as a result of his injuries,” Holland said.

“This is the first fatality South Deep has recorded since February 2017 and is Gold Fields’ first mine related fatal accident this year,” he added.

When City Press asked Lunsche why Gold Fields hadn’t made the mine fatality public, Lunsche said the company didn’t “announce single fatalities” as a standard practice.

As a result of the mine death, the South Deep restructuring had been placed on hold for this week and would resume next week, Lunsche said.

Thulani Mashibini, National Union of Mineworkers (Num) branch secretary at South Deep, said that as a result of the mine death, the company had put the restructuring on hold for seven days and the talks related to the restructuring were likely to resume on Monday.

The Department of Mineral Resources was on site on Saturday and issued a Section 54 safety notice that halted all machinery at the mine, Mashibini said.

If the company issued notices of termination to its employees then the Num would be issuing the company with a strike notice in terms of the Labour Relations Act, he added.

The Num had on October 9 issued South Deep management and the Department of Mineral Resources with a memorandum of demands and the union was awaiting a response to these demands, Mashibini said.
The government was largely a bystander when it came to the exploitation of workers and when it came to possible job cuts at South Deep and the state needed to intervene when so many jobs were at risk, he added.

Uasa gold representative Nico van Rooyen said that the worker who died had been pressed against the mine wall from about 2am on Friday, October 12, until 9am when he was discovered by other South Deep workers.

The mine death was the subject of a Department of Mineral Resources probe, he added.

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