The bodies of three out of five employees who had entered the disused shaft at the Kloof mine, 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Johannesburg were retrieved, Sibanye Stillwater spokesman James Wellstead told AFP.
However, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) reported a death toll of four miners.
“We only have three confirmed dead,” said Wellstead, adding that rescue teams were still searching for the other two employees.
“At this stage we don’t know why they were entering a non-operational workplace,” he said.
Unions lashed out at the company, which has lately been at the centre of a number of tragedies at South African mines. According to unions, 19 deaths have occurred at various Sibanye mines across the country so far this year.
“It seems that disasters have become the order of the day at Sibanye Stillwater and… we are highly disturbed and angered by this as this company is leading the pack in terms of fatalities and the number of deaths per mine,” said Peter Bailey, NUM’s health and safety official.
“This is unacceptable as we don’t sell our lives, limbs or lungs to the industry but our labour to provide for our families.”
Earlier this year, 955 workers at another Sibanye gold mine were trapped underground for more than a day after a power outage caused by storm. They were rescued unharmed.
Sibanye Stillwater last year produced 43,600 kilogrammes (1.5 million ounces) of gold. DM
Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?
Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.
Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.
*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.
"Everything is flux" ~ Heraclitus