The Department of Transport said that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has been tasked with conducting an investigation to establish the cause of the crash that claimed the lives of 22 mine workers in Limpopo and provide a preliminary report.
Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said that the loss of so many lives and injuries among the working class leaves a permanent blow on the socio-economic well-being of the country, and families and loved ones lose breadwinners and are torn apart when such tragedy strikes.
Chikunga has extended her deep and heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the individuals who tragically lost their lives and those who were injured in this devastating incident.
‘’Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and loved ones of the deceased during this very difficult time of great grief and sorrow,’’ she said.
She said that she is placing emphasis on the importance of vigilance and alertness among all road users to prevent such tragic occurrences.
‘’One life lost on our roads remains one too many,’’ she said.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) said in a statement that although the deaths and injuries are the result of a road accident, the Department calls on all stakeholders to work together to ensure that each employee in South Africa’s mining sector returns home unharmed every day.
‘’The health and safety of mineworkers remain a key priority for the government as we tirelessly work towards achieving zero harm in South African mines. After all, it is workers who make the country’s mining sector thrive as a sunrise industry,’’ read the statement.
On Sunday, 22 mine workers employed by Murray & Roberts operations at the Venetia mine died when their bus collided with a truck on the R572 at Musina in Limpopo.
Meanwhile, Trade Union Solidarity is concerned about the fate of almost 3 000 Sibanye-Stillwater mine workers whose jobs may be in jeopardy soon.
According to the union, the mining giant has announced that it intends to lay off a total of 2 389 workers and 581 contract workers from the Kloof 4 shaft at Carletonville. This could not come at a worse time for the employees.
Solidarity Deputy General Secretary Riaan Visser said Sibanye's excellent half-yearly results, in effect, contradict the necessity for large-scale lay-offs.
‘’Amid already challenging circumstances, these employees are faced with the uncertainty of whether they will still have a job by the end of 2023.
‘’However, in its recent half-yearly results, the company boasted about the turnaround in its gold production, which showed a 117% improvement over the first half of the year. It was said that production in this division met expectations and even yielded good profits,’’ said Visser.
Visser said a justifiable question to ask here is whether we are dealing with a gold giant that is gobbling up profits at the expense of employees.
‘’Research has shown that for every mineworker who is laid off, 10 dependants are affected. This highlights how serious the consequences can be, and it provides enough reason why Solidarity does not treat any lay-offs in the industry lightly,’’ said Visser.
The Section 189 process will be facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA), and a date for the first round of the consultation process has yet to be confirmed.