South Africa's "appalling" mine safety record was attacked during a memorial service in Johannesburg for sixty five black miners killed don September 12 in a methane gas explosion at the Hlobane Coal Mine.
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SCU General Secretary National Union of (black) Mineworkers, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa speaking (SOT)
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TRANSCRIPT (SEQUENCE TWO):
RAMAPHOSA: "The recent disaster and the chief engineer's statement reveal a callous disregard for human life, and describe the tragic reality of the Chamber of Mines and the government's attitude to the lives of the miners. The chamber of Mines and the mining companies constantly deceive the public; they constantly tell us that all is well as far as safety is concerned. They give figures which they claim compare very well with other countries. The contrary is true. Our safety recorded is the most appalling in the world. Even countries like China, for instance, even countries like Chile have a much better safety record than our mines. South Africa is the leading mining country in the whole world, and should be leading and guiding other countries in safety alertness and development. But sadly and disappointingly, our safety record, in spite of all the experience and the profits that the mine bosses have made, is the worst in the world."
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Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: South Africa's "appalling" mine safety record was attacked during a memorial service in Johannesburg for sixty five black miners killed don September 12 in a methane gas explosion at the Hlobane Coal Mine. In a moving tribute to the dead miners, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, General Secretary of the black "National Union of Mine Workers" (NUM), declared on September 16 that the South African Government and its Chamber of Mines has "consistently displayed a callous disregard for human life" by not implementing adequate safety precautions. He added that South Africa's record of mine safety was 'the worst in the world', and charged that the Hlobane mine still used unreliable and risky flame safety lamps. The memorial service, attended by Bishop Desmond Tutu and dozens of other mourners, heard Mr Ramaphosa warn the South African Government that 'unless a commission of inquiry is instituted immediately to look into safety in the mines, there will be very little industrial peace. At present there are no black delegates on any South African mine safety committee, and Mr Ramaphosa demanded that blacks be allowed to join in formulating mine safety laws.