Gvt accused of turning a blind eye on fatalities in mines

By William Milasi

Government and other mining regulatory authorities have been urged to thoroughly investigate fatalities occurring in mines as they have been reports of authorities turning a blind eye on mine accidents.
The Centre for Natural Governance (CNRG), the Zimbabwe Diamond Allied Mine Workers Union (ZDAMWU) and the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA) in a joint statement said such blatant disregard of mine workers safety is unacceptable.
The three organization said it is concerned with, “the government’s lack of action in addressing the increasing number of employees dying and getting injured on duty.”
According to a State of Mining Industry, Survey 2023 recently released by the Chamber of Mines made startling revelations that 110 fatalities were reported during the period between January and September 2023, adding that 92 percent of the accidents under review occurred underground, with large-scale operations contributing 18 percent of the total accidents.
Given the dire state of affairs, what therefore is needed to be done according to ZDAMWU, CNRG and ACTSA is for the government and its line ministries and regulatory authorities to attend to the matter, without fear, favor and prejudice.
“The rising number of employee fatalities and injuries occurring in mining areas is alarming. These incidents not only result in the loss of valuable human lives but also inflict immeasurable pain and suffering on affected workers, their families, friends and communities,” the statement read.
The statement noted that more disturbing is the fact that, “more often than not, mine workers who get injured at work get fired without compensating them for their injuries which sometimes constitute permanent disabilities.”
However, what is more disturbing is the fact that authorities seem to be turning a blind eye.
“More disturbing are allegations that the line ministries and other regulatory authorities give a blind eye to these actions, and the lack of enforcement leads to an escalation since those responsible enjoy impunity,” the statement said.
According to the mine workers union, civic society and natural resources lobby group they argued that urgent action must be taken to address this growing crisis and ensure that every worker enjoys the right to a safe and healthy environment.
“It is crucial to recognize that the safety and well-being of employees should be a top priority for both employers and government. While some progress has been made in improving workplace safety standards, it is evident more needs to be done to prevent these avoidable tragedies,” the statement read.
Going forward, CNRG, ZDAMWU and ACTSA have urged the relevant ministries-The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and EMA to strengthen the regulatory frameworks and enforce stringent safety standards across the mining sector.
“This include conducting regular inspections, providing comprehensive training programs, and ensuring that companies adhere to the necessary safety protocols. Efforts should be made to enhance the capacity of labor unions and worker representatives to effectively advocate for the rights and safety of employees.
“Furthermore, we urge employers to prioritize the implementation of robust safety measures within their organizations. This includes conducting through risk assessments, providing adequate safety equipment, fostering a culture of safety awareness, and empowering employees to report any concerns or hazards they encounter,” read the statement.
Authorities have also been urged to conduct thorough investigations into each employee fatality or injury, ” to determine the root causes and hold accountable those responsible for negligence or non-compliance with safety regulations.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *