ATC171108: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit Gauteng on the 11-15 September 2017, dated 08 November 2017

Mineral Resources and Energy

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources on its oversight visit Gauteng on the 11-15 September 2017, dated 08 November 2017

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, having undertaken an oversight visit to Gauteng, report as follows:


1.                     Introduction


The aim of the visit was to review, consolidate and update previous Committee observations and recommendations in support of the concept of “Zero Harm”.


A secondary, but still important aim of the visit, was to consider the views of stakeholders on how the DMR is assisting in the efforts to stem job losses and whether other actions in this regard are feasible.


The oversight adopted a direction and focus from the recent study tour that the Committee undertook to Australia, which provided insights into a “resource safety” system that emphasised managing risk as opposed to concentrating on laws, regulations, inspections and compliance.


2.         Background


A delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources (the Committee) visited Gauteng Province from 11 -15 September 2017.


The Committee held meetings with Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), Chamber of Mines (CoM), Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC), Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), National Union of Mine Workers (NUM), Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU and Solidarity to get an overview on health and safety issues in mines. Health and safety is a tripartite issue where employers, employees and government all have to contribute. In recognition of this fact, the 1996 Mine Health and Safety Act established the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) and the Mine Qualification Authority (MQA) as stakeholder-led institutions to co-ordinate and direct research and training in order to improve health and safety performance of the mining industry.


The parties were asked to present their views on the successes and achievements of the above institutions in promoting zero harm and whether any particular changes are required in the way that they currently operate, so as to improve safety and health outcomes in future.


The Committee also visited Council for Geoscience (CGS) and some of the research installations at Mintek campus to understand how Mintek itself manages health and safety issues in its research work and experimental facilities.


3.         Composition of Delegation


3.1.1       Parliamentary Delegation


The delegation was constituted by the Chairperson of the Committee as the Leader of the delegation, Mr S Luzipo (ANC), Inkosi ZMD Mandela Mr M Matlala (ANC), Ms M V Mafolo (ANC), Ms HV Nyambi (ANC) Mr I M Pikinini (ANC), Mr S Jafta (AIC)


Accompanying the committee was the Committee Secretary Miss A Boss, Committee Researcher, Dr M Nicol, Content Advisor, Mr N Kweyama, Committee Assistant, Ms S Skhosana.


3.1.3     Guests in Attendance





Adv T Mokoena



Mr D Msiza

Chief Inspector of Mines and acting CEO Mintek


Mr MMA Zondi

Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines and acting chairperson, MQA


Ms SS Dhlamini

Acting DDG: Mineral Regulation


Dr L Ndelu

Chief Director: Occupational Health


Mr F Nkuna

Acting Chief Director: Technical Support


Mr F Muthindivhane

Assistant Director: Social and Labour Plan (Gauteng)


Mr S Mabaso

Regional Manager: Gauteng


Ms R I Singo



Mr M Nkabinde



Mr S M Rasmeni

Head of DM Office


Mr MLM Madlala



Dr T Balfour

Head: Health

Chamber of Mines

Mr T C Chabane

Senior Executive: Public Affairs & Transformation

Chamber of Mines

Dr EML Strydom

Senior Executive: Labour Relations

Chamber of Mines

Mr S van der Woude

Senior Executive: Safety, modernisation and sustainability

Chamber of Mines

Mr H Langenhoven

Chief Economist

Chamber of Mines

Mr S M Malatji

Head: Learning Hub

Chamber of Mines

Mr S Phakathi

Head: Safety and Sustainable Development

Chamber of Mines

Mr T Dube



Mr T Mootla

Acting CEO


Mr M Mashego

Executive Director

Harmony Gold

Mr B Nel

Chief Operating Officer


Mr D Nokane

General Manager


Mr G H Coetzee

Vice President: Head of Group Strategy

Anglo Gold Ashanti

Mr R W Ranta

Production Manager

Anglo Gold Ashanti

Mr F S Masemula

General Manager: Mponeng Mine

Anglo Gold Ashanti

Mr G Du Plessis

General Secretary


Mr PD Mardon

Deputy  General Secretary


Mr E Gcilitshana

Secretary: Health and Safety


Mr G Nkosi

Health and Safety  Coordinator




4.         Briefing by the Department of Mineral Resources

Adv T Mokoena, the Director General of the Department of Mineral Resources led the delegation and introduced his team. He handed over to the Chief Inspector of Mines, Mr D Msiza who outlined the presentation as follows; Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate (MHSI) Mandate and Mission, The MHSI Programme, Mine health and safety performance, Challenges, Corrective measures and Conclusion. It was indicated that the Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate (MHSI) is established in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (No. 29 of 1996) to execute the statutory mandate of the DMR of safeguarding health and safety of mine employees and communities affected by mining operations.  Its mission is to strive towards a safe and healthy mining industry. This is to be achieved by reducing fatalities, occupational diseases and injuries through the formulation of national policy and legislation, the provision of advice and the application of systems that monitor and enforce compliance with the law in the mining sector. 

The MSHI Programme consists of two sub-programmes: which are Mine Health and Safety (Regions) and Governance Policy and Oversight (Head Office). Mine Health and Safety (Regions) is responsible for conducting audits, inspections, investigation and inquiries, enforcing the Mine Health and Safety Act, examination services and providing professional advice. Governance Policy and Oversight (Head Office) is responsible for governance; development of policy and legislation that enhance enforcement work; technical support of the regions; chairing of tripartite structures (i.e. MQA and MHSC); administration and issuing of government certificates of competency; and facilitation of HIV and Aids work in the mining sector.

The DMR presented statistics (expressed in percentages) on Occupational Health with regards to exposure to airborne pollutants per classification band, exposure levels to noise per classification band per annum, occupation diseases by commodity from 2007 to 2016, silicosis, Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB) reported from Annual Medical Reports by all mines form 2007-2016. With regards to occupational safety, statistics reflected an improving trend in fatalities by commodity from 1993-2016 and fatality frequency rate by commodity form 2003-2016. It was indicated that the major contributor to fatalities was the fall of ground.

4.1   The following Challenges were outlined:

·           Although there is a noticeable improvement in health and safety performance by the sector, the gold and platinum industries continue to be the main contributors to accidents and occupational diseases.

·           Falls of ground (FOG), Transport Machinery and general risks present a significant obstacle to achievement of zero harm

·           Depletion of mineral resources.

·           Deepening of mines and aging mine infrastructure

·           Entrenching sustainable compliance culture in the mining sector

·           Lack of implementation of rock engineers’ recommendations at some of the mines

·           Retrenchments and restructuring (including retirement of experts)

·           High turnover of personnel on mines appointed in terms of the MHSA provisions.

·           Proper implementation of emergency preparedness and response measures.

·           Faster adoption of leading practices such as Proximity Detection Systems (PDS), etc.

·           Capacity development (there is a shortage of rock engineers and occupational hygienists).

·           Effective implementation of HIV-AIDS/TB Programmes.

4.2   Corrective Measures were outlined as follows:

·           Implement mine health and safety campaigns and prioritize monitoring of mines.

·           Employers are requested to engage independent institutions to review each company’s health and safety management systems.

·           Implement enforcement measures in terms of the law to protect workers from health and safety hazards in their working environments.

·           Monitor implementation of Guidance Note for the Management of TB at the mines.

·           Enhance skills development including on rock engineering and occupational hygiene in collaboration with social partners.

·           Conducting research on worker tracking technology to assist in locating workers during emergency responses.

·           Developing regulations on trackless mobile machinery which include requirement on use of Proximity Detection Systems (PDS)

·           Monitor the implementation of 2016 Summit commitments on the elimination of silicosis, NIHL, TB, HIV, Aids, fatalities and injuries.

Mr Msiza concluded that although there has been significant progress in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in SA Mines, a collective effort is still required to prevent harm to mine workers. High levels of noncompliance in the mining sector still remain an area of great concern. It was only through the continued collaboration and adequately responding to the changing landscape that Zero Harm can be achieved in the mining industry.

4.3   Members raised the following Questions and Concerns

·           There were allegations that inspectors are being bribed and members wanted to know from the department if they have encountered such instances.

·           Members were concerned that not enough is being done in terms of Health and Safety. What they have been exposed to in Australia is far more comprehensive compared to what is evident in SA.

·           What are the plans of the department in terms of ensuring safety in the mines?

·           How many mines are actually meeting the standards and those who do not meet the required standards, what is being done to ensure compliance?

·            Three mine workers remain trapped in Lily mine and yet, it is business as usual. This is not acceptable and there was an appeal that the department takes this matter very seriously.

·           What programmes, plans are in place to avoid poaching of rock engineers and hygienists.  The Department should come up with plans and strategies to avoid that.

·           A list of Section 54 instructions issued to companies was requested by the Committee

·           Members wanted to know how far is the process of the promised amendments to the MHS Act?

·           The question of the safety of Women in the mines was also raised

·           How many inspectors do you have and what are their fields of specialisation? The MHSI says that it is constrained by finances, but yet it is succeeding. What are the areas in which the risks are greatest and what budget is required to address such risks?

·           What capacity does the department have in areas that require element of shared services? For example: Does the DMR have the capacity to judge whether the design of a mine presents danger?

·           What are the factors are considered in terms of issuing the mining license? To what extent is the department responsible when a seismic events causes an accident?

4.4   The Department responded as follows:

·           On the issue on Lily mine, the department is working on the issue and a progress report will be presented to the Committee. The problem is that the mine is so unstable and dangerous that it will risk additional lives if the recovery effort is pursued.

·           The biggest constraint on further progress on zero harm is financial. Every year the MHSI is asked to cut its budget. There has been severe pressure on Inspectors. The branch has been restructured to include Chief directorates of Technical support and health, which includes divisions on occupational medicine and occupational hygiene. More people lose their lives from health issues than from mine accidents.

·           On the issue of compliance, the department has been engaging with NPA to assist by prosecuting those mines which do not comply. When mines do not follow the required standards they are issued with instructions under Sections 54 and 55. The inspectors are not legal people, they are engineers, so the DMR has appointed lawyers to assist, but this is not done effectively because of financial constraints.

·           On Allegations against inspectors. If there is any information about the bribing of Inspectors, it is urged that people should come forward with such information. A challenge with Inspectors is that they cannot afford rock engineers when there are rock falls. The MHSI works with partners in the MHSC and in CGS to deal with seismicity.  The comparisons with Australia can be misleading. They don’t have deep mines.

·           The biggest constraint is financial. Almost every year inspectors are requested to cut the budgets. The inspectorate has a staff complement of 288, including admin staff. There are 200 inspectors who have to cover some 2000 working mines. But it is more complex because a big mine can have 350 working places that are subject to inspection. The MHSI has systems in place to monitor where risks are greatest and then it checks implementation. The MHSI is short staffed for monitoring.

·           Inspectors are pro-active, assisting mines to meet the safety standards better, and they do not just react after an accident has happened. The MHSI saw the increasing problem in platinum mines and has created a fully-fledged new office of the inspectorate in Rustenburg. Previously the department had 1 regional office in Klerksdorp that also had to cover Rustenburg, which is far away.

·           The DG will respond in the future on the timetable for the amendments to the MHSA.

·           The MHSI works with unions and business to identify relevant projects. It has safety-focused meetings with the CEOs of mining companies. The Inspectorate can do better. But with support, zero harm is possible


5.         Meeting with Chamber of Mines


The Chamber of Mines stated that health and safety is one issue that unites the whole industry and that zero harm is the goal for all. The Chamber said that they are proud to be part of the MHSC and that they collaborate tirelessly to reduce deaths and injuries, which have a significant impact on families. Health and safety is not an area in which the mines compete with one another. All the Health and Safety policy structures of the Chamber are open even to non-members of the Chamber.


The CEO’s zero harm forum believes that the behaviour of people at all levels needs to be focused on safety and zero harm. Effort should not be spent on predicting seismic events, but on preventing harm when these do occur. There are many issues that divide the stakeholders at present, but health and safety unites everyone. The research of the Chamber members and the MHSC has led to major improvements in managing seismic risk. A risk-based approach to health and safety is part of the Act.


The Chamber’s members have problems when section 54 is applied inconsistently and unfairly by inspectors. Companies have recently taken DMR decisions on review to the courts. The Chamber has submitted a proposed protocol to help the industry to address Section 54 concerns. The DMR has yet to comment on this proposal.


There is a view that mines will have to close because as they get deeper and older, they get more dangerous. This is not necessarily the case as through modernisation new zero harm methods can be used to mine.


5.1        Members raised the following questions and concerns


·                     The empowerment of women in mining is critical. Yet the Chamber has a male dominant structure and its presentation was silent on the issue of women in mining. When will the Chamber address this issue?

·                     Is there no way for mines to open an additional exit for use by mine workers to prevent harm from accidents?

·                     The Chamber has referred to its forum with unions. How often does it meet with the unions individually?

·                     The Chamber referred to the millions of rand that are still due to be paid to ex-mineworkers. What is the time frame for payment?

·                     There is an outcry on job losses. Are weak commodity prices and the age of mines the main reason for job losses?

·                     Retirement funding is critical yet it seems that TEBA can trace the money that is owed but not the individual to whom it is owed. Why are the provident funds not operational?

·                     On Illicit financial flows, this is a reality. It has become evident it is killing this country over many years. The government is trying to address this, but the Chamber suggests that this is a “myth”. The Chamber should be invited to present to Joint Committee on the myth of illicit financial flows

·                     The Chamber noted that the Risk Committee is not functional. Whose responsibility is it to make it functional?

·                     What is COM doing to assist the Department to deal with non-compliant companies?

·                     Why is still the element of non-compliance amongst the members of COM with regards to Health and Safety?

·                     Safety methods need to be in place to avoid mines being closed and prevent job losses. Why are they not implemented?

  • Compensation of ex mine workers is needed before they die. What is the Chamber doing to make the one stop shop accessible to ex mine workers? What is being done to fast-track the payment of ex mines workers? Does the Chamber have relations with Traditional Leaders?
  • 3 miners remain trapped underground in Lily mine. Why it is business as usual and the mining industry is not concentrating on retrieving them?
  • How do you measure the compensation that is due to workers? How many beneficiaries have been paid?
  • The Chamber quote a figure of R3 billion as unpaid benefits. What is the source of the figure? Where are these employees? How many are in the Eastern Cape?
  • What is the Chamber’s understanding of transformation? Shouldn’t we aspire to be shareholders of our own land?


5.2        Responses


  • On the Structure of the Chamber and male dominance: Broadly, the CoM has quite a diverse Executive team. One out of four senior executives is a woman, and three out of eight in the management team. The Chamber Council has 2 women out of 23 on its Council, but this is not within the control of the Chamber. These were the outcome of a democratic process of appointment by the membership. The Chamber team however said they would report to the Council on the concerns of the Committee about the representation of women.
  • Issues around compensation. The responsibility to pay ex-mineworkers lies with Department of Health (DoH). The Chamber is not stopping the payment of benefits. CoM came to the party to speed up the process (put the DOH on steroids), so that it could carry out its responsibilities better. The State is failing the workers. The Chamber established a project worth R42 million to assist with claims for ex-mine workers, this includes a call centre and a database to enhance tracking. This is not a legal responsibility of the Chamber, although it is a moral responsibility. The compensation funds are with the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases in Braamfontein [He is an official of the Department of Health].
  • Health and Safety – Exits: Each place in the mine is required by law to have 2 exits for emergency purposes
  • Deep level mines, companies are busy with a modernisation programme which has several objectives to achieve, amongst others zero harm and to unlock resources that are currently unwinnable for safety reasons.  
  • Meetings with the unions take place as often as required. The Chamber has an open door policy.  Quarterly meetings are scheduled with office bearers of each union, separately.
  • The health statistics used by the Chamber are always a year behind because they come from the DMR.
  • The Risk Committee is convened by the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD) of the Department of Health. It is chaired by the DMR (Chief Inspector of Mines). The Committee has not been functional to take decisions. This illustrates the problem when there are cross cutting departmental responsibilities. The Chair sits in one department and the convenor is in another department.
  • Illicit Financial Flows, The Chamber noted the concern of the Committee and said it accepted the invitation to come and make a presentation to the joint Committees.


6.         Meeting with Solidarity


The Deputy General Secretary: Occupational Health and Safety and Sustainable Development, Mr PD Mardon presented the views on MHSC and MQA: Successes and achievements on the road to “Zero Harm”

Health and safety communication at mine level

Key uncontrollable safety risks

Underlying reasons for job losses


6.1        Views on MHSC


•     Management of the MHSC has improved dramatically over the last 3 years;

•     MHSC is a good example of successful tripartism and stakeholders generally have a high level of maturity in the pursuit of health and safety;

•     DMR’s attempts to ʺcontrolʺ the MHSC, especially at MRAC is a concern;

•     Good work done by the MHSC is not promoted and visible enough in the industry;

•     The establishment of the Centre of Excellence is a highlight and should improve the success, credibility and visibility of the MHSC;


6.2        Proposed changes at MHSC to achieve zero harm:

•     MHSC should have a vision and mission that is derived from the Act, which can assist in directing its work;

•     The Centre of Excellence is aimed at swifter outcomes to research;

•     Changes are needed from both the employer and MHSC perspectives to allow people working at mines (union members) to attend MHSC sub-committee meetings / TRF meetings / workshops etc. without having to take trade union or annual leave. There should be a change in MHSC policy to allow the Council to finance lost shifts, travel & accommodation from its budget.


6.3        Views on MQA and proposed changes at MQA to achieve zero harm:

•     Solidarity is not a member of the MQA, despite requests to be included;

•     Alignment between MHSC needs and MQA are not always in place, e.g. training of supervisors;

•     There should be closer cooperation and synergy between the MHSC and MQA;

All training should be more practical and would assist in improvement of health and safety if it is better aligned to the requirements of mining processes and mines in general


6.4        Overall view


•     In general, there has been a major improvement at mines regarding their focus on health and safety;

•     Supervisory levels are the weak point regarding health and safety at mines;

•     Labour relations issues, (e.g. recognition and majority unions) undermine health and safety cooperation and detract from the focus on health and safety as the core value. These issues undermine inclusiveness and tripartism in practice.

•     Section 54 is supported, but it must be applied in a fair and consistent manner;

•     Inquiries are often conducted by DMR inspectors with a vindictive approach and a blame culture that is not in the spirit of determining the root causes and to learn in order to prevent similar occurrences.


6.5        Proposed changes to eliminate weaknesses:

•     Inspectors who have an “axe to grind with industry” are not assisting – inspectors should not only be trained in their functional capacity and the MHSA, but also on administrative law, law of evidence and the role of presiding officers in administrative and quasi-judicial processes such as investigations and inquiries.

•     All Section 72 Reports should be finalised and properly researched to determine root causes and best way to address such. The Centre of Excellence could assist.

•     Distribution of available information in a speedy manner is needed to inform the industry of root causes and ways to address it. Reference was made to Australian reports at and


6.6        List of uncontrollable factors leading to fatalities:

•     High incidence TB and HIV/Aids;

•     Natural disasters such as Seismic events;

•     Illegal Mining;

•     Economic factors putting mines and mine workers under financial pressures;

•     Mind set of workers – we need more research on the influence of mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety etc. on mine workers.


6.7        Key safety risks:

•     Ill health;

•     Falls of ground;

•     Attacks on mine workers;

•     Physical undermining of safety structures;

•     Lack of focus on health and safety and pursuing production in an unsafe manner;

•     Making mistakes which lead to injuries and fatalities.


6.8        Addressing the uncontrollable factors:

•     Introduction and acceptance of industry health projects, e.g. Masoyise I TB and World Health Organisation (WHO) project on the elimination of TB;

•     The effect of seismic events could be mitigated by proper inspections, strict adherence to entrance examination and making safe procedures, the general adoption of Mining Industry Occupational Health (MOSH) leading practices and persistent focus on following safe procedures;

•     Address the causes of illegal mining and improve the policing thereof, e.g. specialised policing units and the creation of specific mining related offences;

•     Address the economic aspects that over-emphasise production and detract workers’ focus from health and safety;

•     Cultivate a new mind-set and culture towards health and safety;

•     Research and implement new technologies.

•     Assisting of and alignment with CSIR and Mintek to identify new products and new ways of mining in a better and efficient manner to create new wealth and jobs and protect health and safety.

•     Training and re-training / re-skilling of workers to enable entrance to other industries.


6.9   On the issue of Job looses

Solidarity has outlined the following factors on the issue of job looses:

•     Retrenchment – this is the easy way for a mine to reduce costs

•     Lack of cooperation between mining houses in saving jobs

•     Illegal mining activities

•     Strike aftermath

•     Investment strike by companies:

•     Regulatory uncertainty

•     Political uncertainty

•     Economic instability

•     Union recognition practices – the majoritarian principle disadvantages small unions and their members

•     Poor mining practices:

•     Pillar mining

•     Unresolved production bottlenecks

•     Section 54 notices which stop production

•     Critical period after restart

•     Pressure to achieve production targets

•     Cash constraints to implement new technology


7.         Meeting with AMCU


Mr Gabriel Nkosi, AMCU National Health and Safety Coordinator, made a presentation on Mine Health and Safety and on the issue of job looses.  He said the challenges and solutions in the mining industry cannot be concluded by merely presenting this paper to the PPC, but serve as general aspects to be considered in the industry.

He said the solution to these challenges needs a broader engagement in the form of a special dialogue with a suggested theme of “Mining with the Nation in Mind: In times of depleting resources”

The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people; The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to ownership of the people as a whole; All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people; All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions. (The Freedom Charter)

On the question of how are the MHSC and the MQA doing, he said health and safety is a joint issue where employers, employees and government all have to perform. In recognition of this fact, the Mine Health and Safety Act established the MHSC and the MQA as stakeholder-led institutions to co-ordinate and direct research and training to improve the health and safety performance of the mining industry. The parties are asked to give their views on the successes and achievements of these institutions in promoting zero harm and whether any particular changes are needed in the way that they operate, so as to improve safety and health outcomes in future.

7.1        Success and achievements:

In 2014 Business, Government and Organised labour signed the 2024 milestones. With both parties committing to assist the industry in achieving the set targets. Important amongst these:

1) Elimination of Fatalities

“Every mining company must have a target of ZERO FATALITIES

• Every Fatality is one too many, we will eliminate fatalities by December 2020.

• Up to December 2016, 20% reduction in Serious Injuries per year.

• From January 2017, 20% reduction in Lost Time Injuries (LTI) per year.”

2) Elimination of Occupational Lung Disease

3) Elimination of Noise Hearing Induced Hearing Loss

4) Prevention of TB and HIV/AIDS

“Reduction and prevention of TB, HIV & AIDS infections

• By December 2024, the TB incidence rate on mines should be at or below the National TB incidence rate and 100% of employees should be offered HCT annually with all eligible employees linked to an ART programme as per the NSP.”

5) Cultural Transformation

6) Centre of Excellence


7.2        Changes Needed:

7.2.1                 Elimination of Fatalities

The 20% fatalities reduction planned in the safety summits was not achieved, the mining industry closed the 2016 financial year with only 5% reduction. It is not clear how this reduction measures with employment statistics and whether such reduction is augmented by declining employment in the industry. Fatality Rates were not presented during the announcement of the 2016 DMR financial year results, which also excluded the Lily Mine trapped miners. The industry should have gone a long way to further reduce these fatalities if compliance to standards by various mines was absolute.

·                Repetition in the types of accidents, like Falls of Ground and mining transportation (Trackless Mobile Machinery and locomotives) are causes for concern.

·           AMCU strongly recommends that Chapter 8 of the MHSA Regulations as amended should be fully implemented with no exceptions: revoke the exemption granted in terms of sub-regulations and

7.2.2     Elimination of Occupational Lung Disease

·           The issue of controlled and non-controlled mines can jeopardise and undermine the rationality of collecting and analysing TB and HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence in the mining industry. There are still mines that are not registered with the MBOD/DoH.

·           Some of the mines are repatriating employees who have first degree silicosis. Our view as AMCU with this approach is that these mines have no intent of bringing down the TB incidences but rather opt to send the affected home. This, consequently, keeps such TB incidence rates low in the mining industry. Our judgement is that many mining houses are taking this shortcut rather than complying to methods of prevention to minimise silica dust exposure. Adherence to section 36(1)(a) of ODIMWA will go a long way in bringing down TB incidences.

These two milestones and their achievement is high in priority but our experience shows that a real problem is compliance to laws, regulations, standards and practices by mining houses. Mines simply do not comply enough and this leaves safety and health gaps, despite the mining houses’ claims of high health and safety standards. The reality as we see it is clear: the needs of the business come before the protection of workers’ health and safety.

The above facts are shown where companies have taken the DMR to court, citing that DMR section 54’s are punitive and costing them money. The attitude demonstrated by such mining companies raises questions with regard to the adherence and promotion of section 23 of the MHSA.

7.2.3     Cultural Transformation and Centre of Excellence:

AMCU believes that the cultural transformation pillar as mandated by the MHSC, should expand its mandate to further discharge work done by CoE (we acknowledge that any enforcement of the Code of Practice and Regulations is the primary function of DMR Inspectorates).

If the approved and completed projects are not promoted, the good work by CoE may not reach the targeted population.

A question arose as at mine level, are the lines of communication sufficiently open for the best health and safety outcomes? If there are weaknesses, how should these be addressed and by whom?

Amcu responded that poor participation in regional tripartite fora is hampering the flow of communication.

Another question which was asked related to the fact that the numbers of workers who lose their lives in the mining industry has fallen remarkably, as better health and safety practices are adopted by mines and are applied in the workplace by workers. This then requires a new discussion on how to deal with the safety risks that cannot be controlled, but which are an inevitable part of mining (such as seismic events). What are the key safety risks here, and are they being sufficiently addressed by existing practices?

Amcu responded that they need to see the Council of Geoscience participating in investigations of seismic events, up to the conclusion of s65 Inquiries related to seismic events. It is important to note that it would be irresponsible to leave this important function to only one role-player, namely the mining companies alone. (Mines alone cannot be trusted, being the player and the referee at the same time).

The Automated Seismic Hazards Assessment System is supposed to concisely display seismic changes in each working place, prior to the seismic event occurring, and also record the magnitude of the event after occurrence. The accuracy of this system in picking up short-comings pre- and post the event is questionable.

On the issue of Job losses – the question was asked whether these are purely due to the age of mines, depletion of reserves and weak commodity prices, or are there factors that could be brought to bear by the stakeholders at this time to limit the loss of employment (while maintaining safe work-practices)?

AMCU proposed that mines are unbundled, so that the international operations are cut off such as in the case of Anglo Gold Ashanti which currently has operations in Southern Africa, Australia, North Africa and South America.

It is important that the allocation of capital expenditure should not compare regions based on a single currency. Rather funding of projects should take account of regional performance based on its local currency, and not as converted into a single currency.  If this is not done, and the performance of a South African operation is compared with another operation in for instance Australia, based on employee input based on rand value, versus value in Australian dollars, it will unfairly show the Australian operation outshining the one in South Africa based on profit margins.

7.3        AMCU proposes the following:

  • The facilitation of more potential local BEE companies to acquire mining rights and licences, with the genuine aim to engage in mining and not selling these assets back to non-BEE role-players.
  • Funding and technical support to be provided by the IDC and DBSA.
  • Nationalisation of the mines, beginning with distressed mines, promoting the principle of Social Mining, which is mining for job creation, community improvement, and not focussed on profit alone.
  • Legalise artisanal mining.
  • Employee ownership, by investigating the feasibility of allowing employees to register a company and run such operations by themselves.
  • The transformation from traditional mining methods to current existing mining technology, should be approached with a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, who are inhabiting a particular territory.
  • Industrialisation, including a new emphasis on the tertiary and final stages of mineral production, where the product is further refined for the purpose of “minerals-based industries and enterprises”. Ultimately, the production of “fully and finally processed or manufactured and value-added products or articles”. It is here, we believe, where most new job opportunities can be created, and such opportunities may prove to be very viable and sustainable in the South African economy.
  • Approach modernisation in an extremely circumspect manner to ensure the minimisation of job losses, with the focus being on beneficiation as a source of possible new skills and new jobs for workers as a whole.

8.         Meeting with NUM


Mr Eric Gcilitshana led the delegation and outlined the presentation as follows: Background, Progress, Challenges, NUM role, Way forward on H7S, Retrenchments and Conclusion.


8.1        Background


He said the SA mining industry used to kill 700 workers a year in the 1980’s. It used to injure about 15 000 workers a year and Dr Nelson Mandela called for the Leon Commission in 1994. The Commission identified that four basic worker rights were not enjoyed by SA workers.


8.2        Progress


The MHSA was signed in 1996 and was effected in 1997. The tripartite MHSC board was established. Mile stones were agreed upon by the 2013 MHSC summit. The objective was to reduce fatal accidents and occupational diseases in the industry. Zero harm was to be realised in 2013. Reductions in fatal accidents have been observed. There is a decline in occupational diseases. but it is not enough as long as workers lose live, limbs and lungs in the mines. Another group of mile stones were set in 2014 to 2024.


8.3        Achievements


The following achievements were outlined:

·            There are engagements by stake holders through the MHSC,

·            Agreements and disagreements on issues are discussed.

·            There is a decline on mine accidents.

·            There is a small decline on occupational diseases.

·            A benchmark of 94 fatal accidents was set in 2013. This was below 100 deaths per year from mine accidents for the first time.


8.4        NUM Role


NUM indicated that they played the following roles:


  • In-house health and safety training focusing on role of health and safety stewards, rights of workers, participation in in-loco inspection, understanding compensation claims procedures and representing workers in the accident inquiry
  • NUM march to Chamber of Mines in 2007 under the theme enough is enough”.
  • Hosted health and safety indaba in 2008.
  • Established health and safety tripartite forum with Anglo-American.
  • Visited overseas Anglo-American operations to compare standards.
  • Jointly talk to workers on health and safety matters each year in October.
  • Joint campaigns with Anglo Gold Ashanti on quarterly basis where a day is set aside to talk to workers.
  • NUM had another march in 2011 against the COM with the theme “health and safety is a human right”.
  • NUM normally host tow awareness events each year on Compensation, TB, HIV and Silicosis. (90/90/90), counselling and testing.
  • Work jointly with the mining industry, DOH, DMR and MHSC.


8.5        Challenges


The following challenges were highlighted:

  • Litigation against DMR
  • Threats to litigate against union leaders for speaking against their actions.
  • Threats of job losses.
  • Lack of prosecution on mine accidents.
  • Training of health and safety stewards and representatives.
  • Recall of full time seconded NUM leaders.
  • Some leaders have to sacrifice their annual leave days for tripartite meetings.
  • NUM believes that these actions have an impact on health and safety performance.


NUM made the following proposals for way forward

  • Ensure implementation of decisions
  • Implementation of 2014 summit pledge:

-       Deal with trust deficit

-       Improve communication

-       Visible felt leadership

-       Role of supervisors

-       Health and Safety day should be honoured by all mining houses.


8.6        Retrenchments


NUM received Section 189 notices in 2017 as follows:

·                                 AngloGold Ashanti – January 2017: 849 affected by possible retrenchment

·                                 Mokopane – May 2017: 2300 affected

·                                 AngloGold Ashanti – June 2017: 8500 affected

·                                 Sibanye- August 2017: 7200 affected

These numbers do not include sub contractors in affected mines. The impacts of these retrenchments are closure of shafts, e.g. AGA intends to close Kopanong, Tau Tona and Savuka Mines: Sibanye intends to close rand uranium (Cook operations) 3 shafts and Beatrix 4 shaft and Mokopane mine is to be closed.


8.7        Challenges


·                     No independent due diligence studies were done to confirm what these companies are saying. Even though the NUM raised this with the Mineral Board sub-committee.

·                     Training layoff schemes conducted at the point of exit lose impact because of the anxiety created by retrenchments.

·                     The maximum around R10 000 allocated to these training courses are inadequate.

·                     Lack of commitments by the industry to implement the 2015 leadership declaration.

·                     Companies prefer to close and mothball these mines instead of selling them to new operators to avert job losses.

·                     Companies prefer to use section 189 of the LRA and ignore the section 52 of the MPRDA, whereby they are supposed to give proper prior notice when large retrenchments are threatened

·                     Section 189 of the LRA only allows 4 meetings for CCMA consultation which NUM believe is not enough.


8.8        Way Forward


·                     Instead of closing the mines, companies should sell them to new operators to prevent massive job losses.

·                     The minimum 1-week retrenchment payment for each year of service makes it easier for companies to retrench. NUM proposed that one-month salary for each year of service should be paid when mines retrench.

·                     Re-skilling of workers must not depend on retrenchments but should be an ongoing process.

·                     Workers demand that all their benefits should be paid to them before the mine is sold. This is informed by the Aurora Mine situation.

·                     Companies should take full responsibility for workers who are suffering from occupational and chronic diseases.

·                     Implementation of research outcomes.

·                     Workers to exercise their rights without fear of victimization.

·                     More awareness campaigns.

·                     More visible leadership programs.

·                     Capacity building for occupational health and safety leaders.


8.9        Members raised the following questions and concerns


  • NUM raised an issue that they went overseas to visit Anglo operations. What did they learn?
  • Future Forums are provided for in the law to discuss problems when downscaling is on the cards. Does Labour participate in those forums?
  • Solidarity mentioned that DMR don’t consider other stakeholders’ views. Clarity was sought.


8.10      Responses from the Unions


  • Solidarity said there is no process for applying for membership of the MQA board. The law says they must publish any vacancy in the government gazette but they don’t do it.
  • NUM responded on the lessons learnt in Anglo American. Zero harm is possible, Australia ran mining operations for 3 years without fatality, Chile ran operations for 8 years without fatality. There are fitness facilities in Chile which are not existing in SA. Working together with the Industry can be achieved. On the issue of seismicity-  at times there will be a process of stress build up 
  • Future forum- there are future forums in terms of LRA. These are not seen in the mining industry.
  • AMCU alluded to the recent accident that happened in Kusasalethu where members died. They said a seismic event was predicted on the day. The system is connected to Stellenbosch University. Some falls of rock, are not triggered by seismic events.
  • Solidarity – Long discussions with scientists have been held, but these are not implemented by DMR.


9.         Visit to Mining Qualification Authority


The Acting CEO, Mr T Mootla outlined the presentation. He outlined the MQA skills development value chain and legislative mandate. The MQA regards good governance as fundamental to its future sustainability. MQA has an appointed Chairperson based on legislation: The Chief Inspector of Mines. The Board Structure consists of two Ministerial Appointments; five Department of Mineral Resources (DMR); five Organised Labour; and five Employer Representatives.

Standing Committees:

•       Audit and Risk Committee

•       Executive Committee

•       Remuneration Committee

•       Finance Committee

•       Standards Generating Body Committee

•       Skills Research and Planning

•       Learning Programmes

•       Education, Training and Quality Assurance Committee


MQA regional offices are found in seven provinces. With regards to stakeholder relations highlights, it was indicated that as part of Beneficiation training for the Italy International Learners, 24 learners completed examinations in August 2017. Currently waiting for final examination results from Tari Design School. Two learners will be participating in a European competition against 20 finalists at the end of September 2017.


As part of the exit strategy, the learners will be part of the partnership with the State Diamond Trader for: Placement with employers, Entrepreneurship development within their field, Trade testing preparation, Business registration with CIPRO, application for beneficiation licence from the Regulator, Quality Assurance of Learner Achievements. The MQA continues to fund the training of OHS representatives in support of the Tripartite leadership agreement. A target was set to train 40 000 OHS Representatives over five years as required by the Mine Health and Safety Tripartite Leadership Summit Agreement. To date since 2008 a total of 66 936 OHS representative have been trained on the MQA registered skills programme.

Current Activities

•               Continue to support training of learners on OHS accredited programmes in order to improve health

•               Support other non-accredited and other programmes which are implemented by Mines aimed at improving Health and Safety in the MMS

•               Support the review of standards and learning programmes that will improve health and Safety in the MMS

•                Monitor the training delivery of programmes in order to ensure quality

•               Discussions are underway to identify additional training requirements/needs that will contribute to further improvements of Health and Safety in the MMS

•               Together with our partners/stakeholders, discussions are underway enhance training for Rock Engineers and investigations into development of a National Seismology Qualification.


It was indicated that MQA received an unqualified audit report which the board acknowledged as good.


9.1        Members raised the following Questions and concerns


·                     Why is it impossible to have 9 Regional Offices.

·                     Board appears to be bloated, in the 5 representatives from each stakeholder. Why does MQA go to SDT for employment placements whereas it has employers in the board, or to apply to the department or the state?

·                     EC, KZN, Limpopo are not mentioned with the other provinces. What criteria are used to come to conclusions on Unemployed Youth?

·                     Partnership with Municipalities, is it with Metros?

·                     Empowering young people – are these jobs sustainable?

·                     When are you intending to establish offices in other regions? Where are they going to be based?

·                     Has the MQA made progress in providing literacy training for the many workers on the mines who are not literate?

·                     Statistics for 2016-17 on entered and completed from the intake are not clear. Does MQA also offer part time studies?

·                     Members wanted to know how far in the process of appointing to the Acting positions had gone.

·                     40 000 students were mentioned in the presentation. Can the data be broken into regions?

·                     Portable Skills- talked about construction. How do they assist to make sure youth is taken care of?  How many women are participating in this programme?

·                     On the location of regional offices. There is no office in the WC, yet 250 participants are shown.  Who services these people if there is no MQA office? Focus on Eastern part of the country but none on the Western. What are the reasons for that?

  • How is MQA going to achieve its targets if it is already falling behind the targets that have been set?


9.2        MQA responded as follows:


·                The composition of the Board of MQA is decided by the legislation. Only Parliament can reduce the number of board members, when it amends the MHSA.

·                Levies to the MQA are paid out according to the Skills (SETA) legislation: 20% National Skills Fund, 20% Mandatory Grants (for contributing mines), 10% for Running administration of the SETA. The remaining 50% is for Discretional Grants for Training that are paid to mines that apply for them. In line with Skill Development 3, MQA uses 80% of the 50% to support programmes with are professional, technical and academic in nature (PIVOT).

·            On the issue of having offices in 6 Provinces out of 9. The MQA board, looked at where mining is taking place. It included Eastern Cape as a labour sending area.  Bursaries were given to students throughout the country but concentrate mainly on where mining is taking place.

·                Ministry encourages interdepartmental partnerships. SDT forms part of that partnership. Employers are playing a strategic role to ensure that all learners are assisted.

·                KZN, EC and Limpopo not included, because the data were for 2016/17 financial year. Provinces that do not appear will appear in another year. MQA is going big with EC and KZN. Spoke to Premier in KZN and he is putting something together and MOU will be signed soon

·                 Each mining company is required by the Skills Development Act to pay 1% of its annual salary bill as a skills levy to the MQA.

·                Acting positions: The Board follows due process and a recommendation was forwarded to Minister of DHET to appoint a CEO until 2020. The Minister indicated that the CEO can only be appointed until March 2018 because the board term ends then. Now the term of the SETAs has been extended to 2020, and MQA is still engaging to get clarity from the Minister.

·                250 Artisans are being trained in the in WC. There is no MQA office there but MQA works with the closest office to render services. In Vredendal, it is assisted by the NC office. All MQA offices are located in TVET colleges.

·                MQA cannot guarantee jobs after placements, but it train on entrepreneurship.

·                Number of women – 50%.

·                There is a conflict between MHSA and Skills Act which has yet to be resolved.


10.        Visit to Mine Health and Safety Council


The CEO of MHSC, Mr T Dube led the presentation on Mine Health and Safety. He alluded to the MHSC History & Journey to Zero Harm. Mr Dube presented the Mining Industry Safety Milestones which are elimination of fatalities and injuries where emphasis was made that every mining company must have a target of ZERO FATALITIES.


With regards to Mining Industry Occupational Health Milestones there is the elimination of noise induced hearing loss where the total operational or process noise emitted by any equipment not to exceed a sound pressure of 107 dB(A) and the elimination of Lung Diseases by 2024. 95% of Exposure Measurements Results will be below milestone levels for coal dust, crystalline silica and platinum respirable particulate dust. Using present diagnostic techniques, no new cases of occupational diseases will be found: Silicosis, Pneumoconiosis and Prevention of TB, HIV/AIDS



10.1      Mr Dube alluded to the 2014 MHSC Milestone Progress Report. He presented the Women in Mining Resolutions conference as follows:

Issue Recommendations



Lack of understanding what sexual harassment is.

Increased awareness on sexual harassment at mines

Non‐reporting or fear of reporting sexual harassment cases

Creation of Toll‐Free ( Free SMS reporting line anonymously)

Availability of promotional material to prevent Sexual Harassment.

MHSC booklet to be utilized

Accessibility to Sexual Harassment policies to employees

Display Sexual Harassment Policies at underground waiting places

Trading professional and benefits in exchange of sexual favours

Incorporate Sexual Harassment on existing safety campaigns.

Non‐existence of Sexual Harassment ambassadors

Encourage sexual harassment ambassadors on OHS committee (issue to form part of the agenda).

Encourage sexual harassment ambassadors on OHS committee

Ensure development/implementation of the safety and security policies.

The role of Unions on issues of sexual harassment affecting their members.

Unions to conduct workshops focused on sexual harassment

Sexual Harassment Policies that lack clauses of protection for victims and heavy sanction to the perpetrators

Guidelines to be provided with minimum standards to the mining industry


10.2      MHSC Rockfalls & Rockbursts Related Research


•      SIMRAC has funded more than 130 projects on rockfalls and more than 25 projects on seismicity (rockbursts).

•        Produced handbooks, textbooks, booklets and animated training material.

•      Handbooks that were developed through MHSC that is used predominantly by the deep level gold mining rock engineers has become a prescribed textbook at the Universities of Witwatersrand and Pretoria.


South Africa is relatively advanced in terms of research relating to the management of rockfalls and rockburst risk. At least 4 guidelines on rockfalls and rockbursts were produced from MHSC work, i.e. Guideline on the Compilation of a Mandatory Code of Practice to Combat Rock Fall and Slope Instability Related Accidents in Surface Mines, Guideline for Mandatory Code of Practice to Combat Rock Falls and Rock Bursts for Massive Mining, Amendment to Regulation 14.1(7) of the Falls of Ground Regulations and FOG Guideline.


10.3      MHSC Research on Seismicity


•        Integration of the South African National Seismograph Network and Database with Mining Networks as per the recommendations in Chapter 1 of the Presidential Mine Health and Safety Audit 2008.


10.4      FluidInduced Seismicity Prediction of Ground Motion in the Central Rand Basin


•           The project addresses the problem of the risks posed by fluid-induced seismicity in the greater Johannesburg area, as a result of water ingress in old mine workings.


10.5      Rockfalls & Seismicity Prevention Initiatives


“Minimising the increasing rockburst risk in the platinum mines.” The project developed some innovative animated learning (videos) and awareness training

material to assists the mines to train both their production and rock engineering personnel on how to manage seismic risk and how to avoid practices that are known to result in increased seismic hazard.


10.6      CoE Establishment Rationale

•       Enhancing capacity and strengthening domestic research collaboration by drawing on local existing research strength, infrastructure, and other funding sources;

•       Developing beneficial relationships with major international and local research centres and programmes.

•       Attracting and retaining top research talent in mining research with particular emphasis on occupational health and safety research;

•       Providing high quality training in innovative and internationally competitive

•       occupational health and safety research;

•       Facilitating educating and training of mineworkers on health and safety related in conjunction with Mining Qualification Authority (MQA).


10.7      MHSC – Communication of Health and Safety


•       Dissemination of MHSC research projects and outcomes to all stakeholders has been coordinated through the RTF Forums

•       MHSC has been conducting RTF Chairpersons Quarterly Dissemination Workshops

•       The main purpose of the Regional Tripartite Forums is to:

o    Promote co-operation and consultation on health and safety matters between the Inspectorate, Employers, Employees and the Council.

o    To share information from the Council with Members and to make recommendations to the Council from Members in the Forum and amongst other things facilitate implementation of MHSC approved Action Plan

•       Developed a Dissemination Strategy and Plan currently being implemented.

•       Currently working with MOSH Learning Hub in dissemination of industry best practice


In his concluding remarks, Mr Dube said attaining ZERO HARM is a journey which is long, windy and bumpy. He said that through TRIPARTISM, huge progress has been made in reducing the frequency of mining fatalities in the industry: 77 fatalities in 2015 and 73 for 2016. He further said increased participation of Tripartite Forums, Professional Mining Associations, Mining Companies and other stakeholders is paramount. Commitment of all stakeholders is critical to ensure that 2014 Milestones and the 2016 Pledge are achieved.


10.7      Members raised the following Questions and Concerns


·                     What happens to a miner who dies at work?

·                     When there are cracks in the houses because of mining, do you relocate them?

·                     Members wanted to know the time frame for Centre of Excellence (COE) project

  • Members wanted to know if there are any gaps in the present Research Agenda
  • How many fatalities occurred as a result of disasters?
  • In the programmes of intervention as MHSC what measurement you use do determine geological requirements?


10.8      Responses


·           After any fatality, mining companies provide extensive support and counselling.

·           Damage to property- the MHSC objective is to come up with minimum standards when communities are impacted because of the blasting by mining companies.

·           On Cracks- one of the recommendations, when mines operate they need to identify the risks

·           Issues of Compensation is the real problem.

·           Time frames – started the COE project in 2 years back. By end of this year should be finalised.

·           Some of the research work is done through teams. The process of analysis involved background risk assessment by stakeholders. Some of the research is reacting on what has happened, but other research is pro-active. All research is discussed by the Council committees


11.        Visit to Council for Geoscience


Dr Eldridge Kgaswane welcomed the delegation to the CGS and apologised for the absence of the CEO. CGS has a new structure which was implemented 1 July 2017. CGS scientists conducted the members on a tour to the seismic monitoring facility where sensitive machines can pick up earthquakes even in Mexico and Korea. In South Africa, CGS has monitoring stations all over the country and can pinpoint seismic events as they happen, and are mapped immediately on the computer monitors. As the members watched, there happened to be a small seismic event near Carletonville which was seen in real time.


The scientists of CGS explained the geological structure of the world and its tectonic plates. The plates move over time and this causes earthquakes. Seismicity is an international problem. None of the methods in use to date have found a way to predict the precise timing of seismic events. The world research leaders here are in Japan and Italy. There is also a strong school of seismology at Wits university. The Italians do a lot of earthquake and volcano research but they could predict a recent major earthquake. The day before they said there were no signs of an earthquake. And then it happened. Scientists are still researching for ways to predict seismic events. Prediction is the “holy grail”. The South African gold and platinum mines are located in a seismically active area, at the bottom of the “rift valley”. The gold and platinum occur here precisely because of this unstable geology. You cannot move the mines to stable areas, because they are where the minerals are.


All the mines have seismic monitoring systems, but these are for very small events. CGS can also deal with big events. Data is exchanged, but events are only known after they occur.


12.        Visit to Kusasalethu Mine (Carletonville)


The Committee paid a courtesy visit to Kusasalethu where 5 mine workers were trapped underground and eventually died due to a seismic event. Mr B Nel, Chief Operating Officer reported that on 25 August 2017 at +/- 10:28 a M1.3 seismic event occurred at Kusasalethu. The event was plotted on the mine’s seismic network in the vicinity of 102-43-W10 up dip stope. A report was received from the affected stope that a fall of ground had occurred; 5 employees were unaccounted for. Emergency control was established and mines rescue teams were dispatched immediately. Families and other stakeholders were informed. It took six days of digging by the mine rescue services volunteers, moving rock by hand, working 24/7, to get the last body out of the mine. That part of the mine has been so badly damaged it has been closed and will never be worked again.


The mine reported that the following support was provided to the Families

•       Transport and accommodation provided

•       Trauma counselling provided

•       Financial assistance: full cost of funeral, education fees for school-going children paid up to matric, Harmony bursary program for tertiary education and employment option to be replaced by family member

•       Benefits that accrue due to employment: Rand Mutual Assurance, Mine Workers Provident Fund and all other outstanding payments.


Mr D Nokane, General Manager in Kusasalethu presented a Safety overview.


13.        Visit to Mponeng Mine (Carletonville)


Mponeng mine is one of the Anglo Gold Ashanti mines and is the deepest mine in the world at 4.2 km. [The mine is over four times deeper than the height of [Table Mountain] The mine employs 5,300 people and mining is planned to continue until 2049.  A comprehensive, technical, presentation was given on how Anglo mines safely at these huge depths. This is called the “Safe production strategy”. The aim is that when events occur, people do not get harmed.


Mr Francois Naude, the General Manager and Mr Floyd Masemula, the Mine Manager made the presentations.


There are over 1,000 seismic events recorded every day at the mine. The risks are managed so that “the mass of rock able to fall is less potent”.


The mine said that DMR assists them by informing them of information on how safety issues are tackled on other mines. Achieving zero harm requires removing people from risk. The mine listed eleven interventions that it is applying in accordance with the DMR strategy and guidelines. These range from “implementation of mesh in gullies” to a traffic management plan to limit accidents between people and machinery.


A new technique of ‘cycle mining’ reduces the stresses on the panels and the seismic events that accompany mining by conventional “stepped” methods. This ‘continuous mining’ has to be carefully planned and implemented exactly. So, for example, supporting and drilling are not done at the same time, but sequentially. Split, planned activities in each work area have produced better safety.


There are 100 locomotives in use in the mine for horizontal transport and this poses a huge risk for pedestrians underground to be hit and injured or killed. Drivers are now always in the front so they can see (in the past they could drive from the back). Remote control units (instead of whistles) are used to alert people about the locos. There is a lost person tracking system to ensure people can be found using transmitters on the lamp battery packs.


These systems and technologies produce safe work because the mine actively involves its people in maintaining safe behaviours and attitudes in their work. People are trained properly. There are general mass meetings on safety as well as crew learning and coaching. As specified in the MHSA, there are full time health and safety representatives elected by employees. An independent service provider conducts regular surveys of worker attitudes at all Anglo operations. This measures views on safety and engagement and other matters. Mponeng monitors these results and sees where improvements are needed.


Work is planned to be safe and this is supported by performance management of the people. Production bonus systems can incentivise risky behaviour. At Mponeng, a worker/team cannot enter the bonus scheme unless they have managed their work environment to meet safety standards.


Members raised the following Questions and Concerns


  • Are there Trade Union people serving in the board of the mine?
  • At 4.2 kilometres, it is the deepest mine in the world and has a workforce of 5,300. Which countries are workers coming from and what are their ages?
  • How many blacks have been promoted to Management level. What percentage? The bottom tiers of the mine employment are 100% black, and in the top tier the majority are lily white.
  • Clarity was sought with regards to Women Empowerment. Women get degrees and then sit at home because this is a male-dominated industry. It appears that after 23 years of democracy, there is no transformation.
  • Has the mine employed people with disabilities?
  • Members wanted to know the about the mine Rehabilitation strategy and when will they kick in, given that the mining right is valid until 2036?
  • Further information was sought on the major causes of deaths on the mine and the interventions needed to consolidate success in reducing accidents and injuries


The response was that the mine has platforms for worker participation where decisions are made on safety and human relations issues. There are monthly meetings on health and safety with worker representatives. There is a labour relations committee meeting regularly

71% of Mponeng’s workers are from South Africa. Others come from Lesotho (900), Mozambique (300) and Swaziland (300). 350 workers are older than 55 years. 1,200 are older than 50 years.  The average age is 42 years.

Four of the nine on the management executive team on the mine are black, including the general manager, the mine manager and the senior financial manager.

Work still needs to be done in increasing the number of employees with disabilities and the number of women in senior posts. The mine complies with the targets in the legislation, including the mining charter, so 600 employees are women, exceeding the 10% target.  [Detailed information on these and the safety and occupational health issues was provided by Mponeng in the presentation slides and in writing after the oversight].

Mr C Sheppard from Anglo Gold Ashanti explained that Mponeng has trust funds and bank guarantees in place to fund mine rehabilitation. These are audited annually by DMR. Rehabilitation can become a problem as at the neighbouring Blyvoor mine where there has been degradation of the whole surface area. AGA acquired Blyvoor 4 and 6 shafts to manage the water from Blyvoor. AGA spends R150-million a year for pumping 25 million litres of acid mine drainage from the Blyvoor shafts, which otherwise would decant into Mponeng workings.

The Exco of AGA, the company that owns Mponeng, is more that 50% black. AGA employs women in core skills in its operations, making up 15% of the work force. There is volatility in black numbers in senior management but it is above the target of 40% and it is 50% in middle management.


[After the visit, on 14 October and on 2 November, four mineworkers died at Mponeng in the wake of three seismic events. Until October 2017, Mponeng had been over a year without losing a person on the mine. It had just recorded two million fatality-free shifts‚ for the first time in the history of this mine. On 18 September AngloGold Ashanti had received the award for the most improved mining company in terms of safety performance at the MINESAFE conference.]


14.        Visit to Doornkop Mine


Doornkop is a gold mine in Soweto owned by Harmony Gold. The mine had multiple fatalities in 2014, but since then has shown strong improvements, despite the challenges it faces, which include marginal profitability. Doornkop has been fatality free for 3 years. The COO of Harmony Gold, Mr B Nel outlined the presentation as follows: South African operations safety strategy, Sustainable value-based health, Safety – proactive, risk-based approach, Doornkop safety overview, Doornkop health initiative, Transformation statistics and portable skills training and Conclusion.


The presentation included an explanation of the “bow tie analysis” now used in all Harmony mines. The one side of the bow tie is to recognise threats and to put in place preventive controls to avoid unwanted events from hazards. The second side is to learn from unwanted events when they do occur and to put in corrective controls so they do not happen in future. Harmony risk management has 4 layers, all of which have to fail before there is an accident or a fatality. “Safety is like sweeping water up a hill” – you have to do it the whole time. Doornkop involves its people and makes them aware. In 2017 it won the best improved safety award for gold mines.


NUM commented that the picture looks glossy but reality is mining is a rocky industry. The picture presented by management did not talk to everyday life that we are working. It was largely missing the reality. Management do not walk the talk. The issue of training needs to be attended to, to see if it is working or not. Issues of an underground visit. To what extent are Members available to experience what the junior employees are undergoing. Issues of Health remains a problem. The mine is dumping sick employees to rural areas where they become a burden of the government. The role of DMR, is quite questionable, they don’t come to the party. They tend to undermine the labour organisation because they are friends of employers. The unions hardly ever see the DMR: “they don’t think they need a relationship with us”. NUM has met with the DG, but never with the Minister.



14.1      Members raised the following Questions and Concerns


·       There was a concern on the report as it was overlapping. Interested in Doornkop’s achievement as the most improved mine. What was the key factor in the improvement? What is the thing you need to sustain?  On health, what seems to be an element that is taking us somewhere?

·       Members wanted to know kind of injuries women do normally get.

·       Members wanted to know whether the mine has protective clothing for women?

·       Have you encountered rape and harassment against women? If yes, how did you handle this?

·       With regards to Ex-mineworkers- since paying 100% for required medication, members wanted to know whether they are sent to Public clinics or the one stop shops?

·       Members wanted to know how often is the screening of TB?

·       Members wanted to know the relationship between the employer and unions

·       What type of skills do you need?

·       A sample of people who were incapacitated and who were taken back and their areas of work was requested.

·       To what extent must companies take responsibility for negligence? Should Parliament make a law that it is a pre-condition of a mining licence that the mine has to take responsibility for a mine accident if it is caused by the mine design?


14.2      Responses


·           What has made Doornkop the most improved mine? There was no single intervention. There is no silver bullet when it comes to safety. Safety is a multifaceted thing. The four level risk management approach was the main thing. The Chamber of Mines MOSH working group is preparing a leading practice paper on this approach. Not all companies are yet learning from the improved practices that have been developed by industry leaders, AGA, Glencore and Amplats. All these threads to strengthen safety are important.


·           Personal Protective equipment (PPE) for women-  The mine has done some of it and some is in process. Underclothing is specific for women. And lighter gumboots are supplied. The mine is aware of the research and guidelines for PPE for women through the work of the MHSC.


·           Injuries to women are mainly equipment caught between, RBE and slip and fall. Women have a shorter stride and find it harder to get onto the moving chair lift.


·           There have been no instances of sexual harassment reported on Doornkop. This can happen if cages are overloaded and the perpetrator cannot be identified because it is both dark and crowded. So the mine does not over-fill cages. There is a Policy on sexual harassment which is reviewed every 3 years.


·           Lessons have been learned on TB incidence. There is an identification of communities and labour sending areas which are most at risk to ensure less spread.


·           How often are workers tested for diseases? This is high risk based. Depending of the result of risk assessment, you may be tested every time you come to the clinic, for TB and HIV. There is an annual test for pulmonary diseases


·           The union is involved in the application of good practices. The mine consults before roll out. There is a process to develop a code of practice and all has to be agreed by the stakeholders. Joint health and safety committees with unions are in place, as required by the Act. You need employers, DMR union, the more involved the better. You cannot do safety alone.


·           The mining industry collaborates well on safety. There is no protection of intellectual property – lessons and best practices are shared in multiple forums like the MineSafe Conferences, the Chamber’s MOSH learning hubs and the CEO’s zero harm forum.


·           Designing mines to mitigate seismic impacts can be done, but unfortunately there are limits for marginal mines. Affordability is always linked to mine life in reality. If a mine is not making money, it has to close. Adding more legislative requirements – on mine design or whatever – does not make things better, but more difficult. Doornkop is a marginal mine – it is an NGO – if Parliament adds more legislation, it will have consequences.


·           On skills, SA has the deepest mines in the world and a lot of deep mining skills. Good mine designs may be implemented, but they are like marking lines on the road. Some people ignore the lines and the signs.


15.        Visit to Mintek


Mintek has a new board and the new Acting CEO is Mr D Msiza, the Chief Inspector of Mines. Mr A McKenzie led the presentation. He outlined the presentation as follows: Mintek’s context, Mintek statistics, Health and Safety, Health and Safety related activities and Conclusion.


Mintek has chosen to integrate its management of Safety and Health, the Environment and Quality (SHEQ). Mintek opted a preventative rather than reactive approach. Mintek falls under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and not the Mine Health and Safety Act. They also subject to City of Johannesburg by-laws and regulations and other national legislation. 


With regards to activities related to health and safety, it was indicated that Mintek is not involved in Mining (CSIR), only Processing. Therefore, none if its direct activities are associated with Health and Safety during mining. But significant activities indirectly associated with Health and Safety.


Thematic Areas

•               Legacy Health and Safety and Environmental impacts.

–Acid Mine Drainage.

–Mine effluents.

–Robinson Lake clean-up.

–Mine dumps.

•               Process technology development.

–Urban mining / e-waste processing.

–Conroast Pt smelting technology.

–REE process technology.

–Cyanide monitors etc.

•               Health and Safety products.

–Diagnostic test strips.

–CO to CO2 catalysts.

–Pt fuel cells.

•               Derelict and ownerless mines programme.

–Primary focus on health (asbestos) and safety (Osizweni).

•               Community - Small scale mining training.

–Large focus on safety and preventing unsafe mining.


As indicated by the metrics, Mintek’s internal Health and Safety has been improving and is currently at its best level. A significant proportion of Mintek’s activities relate to Health and Safety. A number of Mintek’s programmes make significant impact in job creation.


The Members were conducted on a visit to the industrial research facilities on the Mintek.


16.        Findings


The Committee made the following observations:


  • There has been a dramatic decline in the number of workers who die every year in mine accidents. South Africa is leading with some of the deepest mines in the world. Safety risks multiply with depth. Mine fatalities fell from over 600 in 1993 to below 100 in 2013 and the trend is still declining. This is an extraordinary achievement. It is testimony to the progress that is possible when government supports a new direction in mining that is based on tri-partite participation, research, training and a common search for the best leading practices.


  • The rate of fatalities and injuries remains unacceptable, however, despite the huge improvements since the MHSA was implemented by the democratic government after 1996.


  • When a mine worker dies or is injured at work, it is still not an unexpected incident. The shock is only when a mine goes for a year without a fatality. The remarkable event, celebrated with awards, is when a mine records a million fatality free shifts.


  • “Zero Harm” is the goal and slogan shared by all stakeholders in the mining industry. This could be achievable, even in the deep and dangerous gold and platinum mines.


  • The majority of fatalities on the gold mines are from two causes: falls of ground (FOG) when the mine suddenly caves in on top of workers, and transport-related incidents.


  • Some FOGs are triggered by underground earthquakes (seismic events) which cannot be predicted by present technology. The mining activity itself can lead to increases in seismicity.


  • Careful mine planning and standardized work practices can reduce the impacts of seismic events, so that when they occur, workers are not harmed.


  • There is a tension between safety and production. Both mine management and workers can be tempted to set safety risks aside in order to get increased profits and production bonuses. Some mines decide to close off dangerous areas from mining even though they still have gold. Many mines make safety part of the bonus system: workers first have to show they complied with safety standards before they can qualify for any bonus.


  • Workers can refuse to work in places they deem to be dangerous. Since 1996, this right is enshrined in the law and workers may not be penalised for refusing to do hazardous work. This right, however, cannot be exercised in an unreasonable manner.


  • DMR issues many safety guidelines (in addition to the regulations) to assist mines to learn from leading work practices in mines both in South Africa and abroad. This work is assisted by the committees of the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) and the “MOSH Hubs” of the Chamber of Mines.


  • It is critical to involve workers in improving health and safety. This can always improve, but it is well encouraged by the worker safety representatives introduced 20 years ago by the MHSA and by the educational efforts towards culture change that is promoted by the MHSC Summits and the safety representatives training provided to 6,000 workers a year by the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA).


  • More workers die because of occupational diseases from the mines than from accidents.


  • The State has failed in its duty to compensate many thousands of mineworkers who contract occupational lung diseases such as silicosis.


  • The three departments that are responsible for occupational health have failed to co-ordinate their actions to remedy inconsistencies in the law. These result in mineworkers receiving inferior compensation when they get lung diseases at work than in the case for workers in other sectors of the economy.


  • The Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate (MHSI) continues to suffer severe vacancies. This is partly because mines poach the engineers who are trained in health and safety by DMR/MQA. It is also because the Treasury has imposed budget cuts on the DMR and government is not able to match the salaries available in the private sector.


  • A competent, experienced inspectorate is needed, both to enforce the legal safety standards and to assist mines to implement leading practices to improve safety. There are not enough inspectors (200) to do this work for all the 2,000 operating mines in SA (many of which have multiple workplaces, big mines have 350 working places that need coverage in the inspection system).


  • The MHSC, MQA, Mintek and CGS all do excellent work to influence higher levels of safety related to the mining sector. This work is often well-coordinated between them, the DMR and stakeholders in the industry.


  • There is a tendency for mines to take the DMR (and even individual inspectors) to court to dispute MHSA Section 54 notices. [These compel a mine to stop operation to attend to safety breaches. The DMR has lost all of the cases in question.]


  • There is no ‘silver bullet’ to improve mine safety. It involves a multifaceted approach. It involves assessing risks and acting to address first the greatest risk areas. Safety performance can always be improved – and you never achieve full safety as an end-point. Safety practices have to be maintained through constant monitoring and education. The laws, the institutions and the practices in the industry are geared towards “Zero Harm”, but this has to be achieved anew, by all stakeholders together, every working day.


17.        Recommendations by the Committee


The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources having heard evidence from all stakeholders listed above recommends the following:


  • Research on seismicity in mines needs to be emphasised by the CGS, the mines and institutions of higher learning.


  • More collaborative experimentation on mine planning and safe mining methods by the DMR and all responsible and relevant parties is needed to ensure that when incidents occur, workers are not harmed.


  • The DMR should engage with the industry on the proposed protocol to address the industry’s concerns with Section 54 that has been submitted by the Chamber of Mines. The Committee requests a progress report on this issue from the DMR by the end of March 2018.


  • In the interim, as preparations are made to phase in such an agreed protocol by all stakeholders, the DMR should appoint legal representatives who have an expert knowledge on mining to advise on Section 54 cases when inspectors’ notices are challenges in court by the mines. The DMR should not aim to be punitive, but to assist the mines to fulfil their journey to zero harm.


  • The trainee inspector programme needs to be financed on a permanent basis by DMR and MQA.


  • The DMR and the Chief Inspector of Mines should work with MQA to promote skills development in rock engineering.


  • The DMR should actively support union demands for the MHSC to pay for the lost shift and logistic expenses of worker delegates to the MHSC and regional safety forum meetings.


  • The DMR should present a progress report to the Committee by the end of March 2018 on the specific steps that have been taken to harmonize the compensation laws on lung diseases and to fast track a compensation system that functions to the advantage of mineworkers.


  • The Department of Mineral Resources should give an account on the failure of the Risk Committee dealing with “controlled mines” to meet and carry out its functions under section 296 of the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, No. 78 of 1973. (This Committee, which decides which mines are risky for silicosis – and must pay into the Compensation Fund -  is chaired by the Chief Inspector of Mines. It has not functioned for several years.)


  • The DMR should brief the Committee to the extent of progress on the amendments to the MHSA. [The Draft Amendment Bill was gazetted in December 2013 for public comments and completed Nedlac processes in March 2016].


  • Parliament should formally invite the Chamber of Mines to provide a briefing on its research on the nature and extent of illicit financial flows from the mining sector in South Africa.


18.        Conclusion


The Committee extends its thanks and appreciation to the DMR, the entities and the mines and stakeholders who attended and hosted the meetings during the oversight visit. Due to the required Parliamentary approval processes, the notice for confirmed oversight visits is often quite short. Oversight visits are extremely important elements for the Committee and inform its assessment of how effectively the Executive is implementing its strategic and annual performance plans.


Report to be considered.



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