South Africa’s high rate of mineworker fatalities is unacceptable, the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said on Friday 7 February 2014. Over 70 000 workers have died in the country’s mining sector since its inception, said spokesperson Sizwe Pamla, adding that “this is unacceptable and we need action now.”

This follows the tragic accidents at Harmony Gold in the last week Tuesday, where eight miners died in a fire at Doornkop mine, and two separate accidents at Kusasalethu mine and Joel mine that killed another two miners.

“We support our sister union the National Union of Mineworkers in its call for the department of mineral resources’ mine health and safety inspectorate to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the accident, to ascertain what went wrong and hold those responsible accountable for these deaths,” said Pamla.