CAPE TOWN, June 13 (Xinhua) - South African MPs on Wednesday called for an urgent investigation into the deaths of four mineworkers at a mine frequented by disasters.
Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe must ensure that the investigation "is conducted as a matter of urgency, with the requisite due diligence," said Olifile Sefako, Chairperson of Parliament's Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources.
This came after four mine workers were killed at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine near Johannesburg on Monday night.
The latest deaths brings to 19 the number of mineworkers who have lost their lives in the line of duty at Sibanye-Stillwater's mine since January this year. Of these deaths, nine were reported in just two months.
South African MPs have accused the mine management of failing to deliver on the basic legislative and moral obligation of ensuring the safety of workers, saying the high number of deaths at the mine is a sign that unusual action should be taken.
The MPs have called for intervention by the Department of Mineral Resources in efforts to bring an end to mine disasters, and for swift and thorough inspection of the health and safety measures at the mine.
If necessary, maximum sanctions for any lapses should be imposed, the MPs said.
On Wednesday, Mantashe paid a visit to the Sibanye-Stillwater mine.
After meeting with the mine management and organized labor, Mantashe said the Department of Mineral Resources will investigate the accident and take drastic action, should this be necessary.
In response to Mantashe's visit, Sefako said the deaths at the Sibanye-Stillwater mine have long passed alarming proportions and required a different approach.
The number of fatalities on South African mines increased to 88 last year, the first rise in a decade, compared with the 73 deaths recorded in 2016, official statistics show.
A total of 26 miners have been killed since the beginning of this year.