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Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday called for mine bosses to be prosecuted for the deaths of six miners in Limpopo at the Phalaborwa Mining Company's copper mine.

The men died after they became trapped underground when a fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The six workers were identified as Shaun Mashego, 32, Vula Eckson Mayindi, 60, Peter Selowa, 32, Kgotso Peter Sekgobela, 29, Lebogang Elliot Maake, 37, and Russel Ricardo Warne, 24.

In a statement, Numsa acting national spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said: "Mine safety remains a huge problem in our country. A spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations, including a seismic event that killed seven miners in early May, has highlighted this crisis. One death underground is far too many and we have seen shockingly high levels of fatalities in the sector in recent years".

She said it showed that the mining industry does not care about the lives of African workers. 

"We call for a full investigation into this incident, and in the sector as a whole. Furthermore, we reinforce calls made by our federation SAFTU for the Mine Health and Safety Act to be amended to allow for the prosecution of mine bosses if workers are killed underground". 

The statement also called for mines to be nationalised so that they could "operate for the benefit of the working class majority and society in general".

African News Agency (ANA)