CONVERSATIONS WITH THE LEADERS
issue of safety. There is a committee of CEOs that is taking up these matters.” The Minister says he was saddened by the accident that occurred at Lily Mine, outside Mpumalanga, when three workers were trapped underground. “We continue to do everything in our power to support efforts by the mine to ensure that the container is retrieved.” Tripartite stakeholders in the sector met at a two-day Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Summit in November 2016 to look at the state of health and safety at mines and recommit themselves to the 2014 OHS set milestones in pursuit of zero harm in the mining industry. The milestones set during the 2014 summit included that: •
In terms of occupational safety by December 2016 there would be a 20 percent reduction in serious injuries per year and from January 2017 there would be a 20 percent reduction
Minister Zwane and officials from the Department of Mineral Resources on a health and safety visit at Harmony Mine in Carletonville.
in lost time due to injuries per year. •
below the milestone level for respirable crystalline silica, coal
One of the ways to transform the mining sector in South Africa lies in the strengthening of legislation.
In terms of occupational health, the target is that by December 2024, 95 percent of all exposure measurement results will be dust and platinum dust.
By December 2024, the TB incidence rate should be at or
In November 2016, the National Assembly passed the
below the national TB incident rate and 100 percent of
MPRD Amendment Bill, and referred it to the National
employees should be offered HIV counselling and testing
Council of Provinces to consider the issues which were raised
annually with all eligible employees linked to an anti-retroviral
by the President relating to the public consultation process undertaken. “The conclusion of the process will contribute towards the
treatment programme as per the National Strategic Plan. The Minister says that the department’s focus on the health and safety of mineworkers is yielding results.
ease of doing business in the country and thus also promote
“It is encouraging that during 2015 we experienced the
economic growth and mineral and petroleum resources
lowest fatalities in the mines which stood at 77 and we are
development,” says the Minister.
working together with the stakeholders to ultimately achieve
The Bill obliges the Minister of Mineral Resources to initiate
a goal of zero harm.”
or promote the beneficiation of mineral resources in the country and requires the Minister to “designate any mineral or mineral product for local beneficiation”.
Mine health and safety One of the areas that concerns Minister Zwane is the issue of health and safety at the country’s mines. Although the government has put laws in place to safeguard the health and safety of mine employees and communities affected by mining operations, accidents still happen. “As a department we will be sitting down to map the way forward to ensure that our ultimate goal of zero harm is realised. We are happy that the sector has also taken up the
Public Sector Manager • December 2016 / January 2017