Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe has called on mine employees to be forthright in fighting for their rights in the sector.
Mantashe said mine workers must at all times refuse to work under conditions that they feel places their lives in danger as the country’s laws allowed them to do so.
The Minister was speaking during the memorial service for seven miners who died at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Masakhane mine in Driefontein when an earth tremor measuring 2.2 on a Richter Scale occurred last week.
Several more miners were also admitted to hospital with serious injuries.
Mantashe said it was up to miners to take matters of their safety in their own hands, and refuse to work in dangerous conditions.
” Miners at this very mine refused to go underground in 1985 because they felt the working environment was too dangerous for them,”
“All those workers were dismissed because they were demanding better working conditions,” Mantashe said.
He said labour conditions have now changed and the country’s laws now protect workers from being dismissed for raising issues of safety.
Mantashe also said mine owners should not compromise workers safety just to maximise their profit.