Alarming Rise in Mining Fatalities Sparks Urgent Call for Govt Action

By Staff Reporter

The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), Zimbabwe Diamond Allied Mine Workers Union (ZDAMWU), and the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA) have issued a joint statement expressing deep concern over the increasing number of fatalities and injuries among mine workers.

The organizations are urgently calling upon the Government of Zimbabwe, along with its line ministries and regulatory authorities, to address this pressing issue promptly and impartially.

“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,” said the organisations

The alarm, the organisations said was sounded following the release of the State of Mining Industry Survey 2023 report by the Chamber of Mines.

“According to the State of Mining Industry, Survey 2023 report recently released by the Chamber of Mines, 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 to the total accidents.

“We observe 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. More disturbing are allegations that the line ministries and other regulatory authorities give a blind eye to these accidents, and the lack of enforcement leads to an escalation since those responsible enjoy impunity,” read the statement

CNRG, ZDAMWU, and ACTSA are urging the relevant line ministries—the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, and the Environmental Management Authority (EMA)—to take immediate action.

“Strengthen regulatory frameworks and enforce stringent safety standards across the mining sector. This includes conducting regular inspections, providing comprehensive training programs, and ensuring that companies adhere to the necessary safety protocols. Efforts should also be made to enhance the capacity of labor unions and worker representatives to effectively advocate for the rights and safety of employees.

“We urge employers to prioritize the implementation of robust safety measures within their organizations. Conduct thorough investigations into each employee fatality and / or injury to determine the root causes and hold accountable those responsible for negligence or non-compliance with safety regulations.

“We encourage the formation of partnerships and information-sharing platforms to expedite the implementation of effective safety strategies and best practices. Facilitate the compensation of all those injured at work as well as compensating the families of all those who would have died during the course and scope of executing their mining duties and responsibilities,” said the organisations

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