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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South African MPs urge punitive measures on
mining companies responsible for disasters

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Some members of South Africa’s Parliament on Sunday called for a legislated way of imposing punitive measures on mining companies responsible for mining disasters.

Companies found to have failed to put mechanisms in place to prevent fatalities must be punished, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources said.

“The mining companies need to invest more resources into research and development of technologies that would detect seismic events from early stage,” Committee Chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

This came after seven miners were killed at the Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein gold mine, near Carletonville, Gauteng Province, on Thursday following earthquakes.

A total of 13 miners were trapped underground. Six other miners were injured and rescued.

In February this year, two mine workers lost their lives at the same mine, according to Luzipo.

“The loss of lives in the sector cannot continue unchallenged,” said Luzipo.

He said members of his committee embarked on a week-long oversight visit to Gauteng from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 this year, focusing on mine health and safety.

During the visit, members of the committee saw technological devices designed specifically to detect early signs of seismic events, he said.

“It is against this backdrop that we strongly believe that through investment of resources into research and innovation, a solution could be found to prevent fatalities and loss of lives during seismic events,” Luzipo said.

Also on Sunday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) lambasted the increasingly poor safety record at the mines, particularly at Sibanye-Stillwater.

The union said it will engage Sibanye-Stillwater on the issue.

The country’s mining sector recorded a total of 31 fatalities so far this year, according to the union.

“The figure is much higher compared to the same period last year, where we had 28 deaths,” said NUM Health and Safety Secretary Eric Gcilitshana.

Early this year, 955 miners were temporarily trapped at another Sibanye-Stillwater mine in Welkom, Free State Province, after an electric cable outage during a storm.

“We will be calling for discussions with the mine to raise our concerns,” Gcilitshana said. “There have been far too many fatalities at Sibanye mines, notably this year alone.”

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EARLIER REPORTS:

South African president urges solutions to “unacceptable rate of death” in mines 

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday called for solutions to “the unacceptable rate of death” in the country’s mines following the death of seven miners.

He made the appeal after the death toll at a South African mine had risen to seven following initial reports that four workers had passed away.

Repeated earthquakes struck the Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine near Carletonville, Gauteng Province on Thursday and Friday, trapping a total of 13 miners. Six other miners were injured and rescued.

Ramaphosa voiced hope that the investigation into the Driefontein disaster “will identify the causes of the incident and lead to solutions that will address the unacceptable rate of death in South African mines.”

“We should spare no cost and no collaboration to ensure that workers are safe and their families are adequately cared for and compensated when disaster and tragedy strike,” said Ramaphosa.

The thoughts and prayers of the government and South Africans at large are with the families of the deceased miners, among whom are workers from neighboring states including Mozambique, the president said.

“We also offer our best wishes to workers who have been directly or indirectly affected by this disaster, which should move the mining industry and government to jointly find ways to do all we can to protect our nation’s most valuable resource—the workers who are at the heart of our economy,” he said.

As instructed by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, a team of experts is being formed to help the industry prepare better for seismic events.

South Africa saw a rise in mining deaths last year.

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 22 miners have been killed by the end of March this year.

According to the Department of Mineral Resources, 11,000 mineworkers were killed between 1984 and 2005, averaging 550 a year.

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South African ruling party outraged by gruesome murder of pensioners

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Saturday expressed outrage at the gruesome murder of two pensioners.

The ANC is saddened to learn of “the brutal, callous and cold-blooded” killing of 84-year-old Rosalie Bloch and 96-year-old Aubrey Jackson, who were found murdered in their Rosebank home in Cape Town earlier Saturday.

The two pensioners were the parents of education expert Professor Graeme Bloch.

The elderly couple, who were declared dead on the scene, had been tied up.

“The ANC is dismayed and shocked at this evil deed. We strongly condemn the cowardly act visited on the defenceless and elderly,” ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

“It is disheartening to note that we still have amongst us, those who are determined to trample on other people’s right to live driven by selfish and cruel intentions,” Pale said.

The motive for the killing is still being investigated. Previous investigation indicated that it appears to have been a burglary that turned into a murder.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said the provincial detectives were investigating a case of murder and house robbery following the incident.

These are elements that must be isolated and locked away to rid our society of heartless criminals, said Mabe.

“Law enforcement agencies must indeed leave no stone unturned in their quest to ensure that perpetrators of this heinous crime are caught and face the full might of the law,” he said.

The ANC, he said, further calls on all South Africans to act in concert to ensure that criminals have nowhere to hide wherever they seek refuge.

The killing highlights the seriousness of rising crimes in South Africa which is among countries that have the highest crime rate in the world.

South Africa has seen a rise in violent crimes in the 2016/2017 financial year, with murders up 1.8 percent, or 9,016 murders being recorded, official figures show

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South Africans outraged by murder of female student

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday joined the chorus of condemnation against the murder of a female student.

South Africans “are tired of such senseless killings and will not tolerate them,” Silulu said.

She was referring to the murder of Zolile Khumalo by her boy friend.

Khumalo, a 21-year old student at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), was shot dead on campus in Durban in full view of her roommate on Tuesday night following what police described as a domestic quarrel.

The suspected killer, a 23-year-old man, who cannot yet be named, is set to make his first appearance in the Durban Regional Court on Friday on charges of murder.

Khumalo’s death sent a wave of grief through the country.

“We must do more to protect women from being murdered by partners or former partners. We trust that the judicial system will take necessary steps and send a clear message to perpetrators that South Africans are tired of such senseless killings and will not tolerate them,” said Sisulu, who is also the Chancellor of the MUT.

Khumalo’s killing was the latest in a series of murders of women by their male partners in South Africa that has been gripped by high level gender-based violence.

In the most recent case, Karabo Mokoena, a 22-year-old girl, was murdered by her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe. In trying to destroy evidence, Montsoe dumped and burned her body.

Those barbaric gruesome acts contributed in painting a negative picture of South Africa, the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) said.

The ANCWL is unapologetic in calling for maximum jail sentences for those convicted for the barbaric gruesome killings of women and all forms of gender-based violence, ANCWL Secretary General Meokgo Matuba said.

“Society must unite and make sure that the gruesome killings of women and all forms of gender based violence comes to an end. Perpetrators must be locked in jails for women, children, gays and lesbians to enjoy their full human rights as citizens,” said Matuba.

South Africa is among the countries that have the highest rate of violence against women and children. According to the South African Medical Research Council, a woman is killed by an intimate partner every eight hours in the country.

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Young women not safe in South Africa: Presidency

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Young women “are not safe in our society” as indicated by the latest gruesome killing of a female student, the Presidency lamented on Friday.

“We call on all student bodies to introduce awareness programs on gender violence,” Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma said.

Dlamini-Zuma was the latest high-ranking government official who joined the chorus of condemnation against the murder of Zolile Khumalo, a 21-year-old student at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) in Durban, allegedly by her boy friend.

Khumalo was shot dead on campus in full view of her roommate on Tuesday night following what police described as a domestic quarrel.

On Thursday, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu condemned the killing, saying South Africans “are tired of such senseless killings and will not tolerate them.”

The murder of Khumalo highlights the seriousness of gender-based violence in South Africa where a woman is killed by an intimate partner every eight hours in the country, according to the South African Medical Research Council.

“Although it is not our intention to pre-empt the motive behind Khumalo’s killing, it is clear that young women are not safe in our society,” Dlamini-Zuma stressed.

She urged universities and other institutions of higher learning to take precautionary measures to improve security to ensure the safety of students in their care.

“It is not acceptable that some one could easily breach security to commit such a heinous crime,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

The law enforcement agencies must swiftly investigate the murder and bring the perpetrator to book, she said.

Khumalo’s killing occurred less than two days before the South Gauteng High Court on Thursday sentenced convicted murderer Sandile Mantsoe to an effective 32 years in prison for murdering Karabo Mokoena, a 22-year-old girl last year.

In trying to destroy evidence, Montsoe dumped and burned Mokoena’s body in a case that shocked the nation.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the killing of Khumalo and trust that our justice system will prevail the same way it did in the case of Mantsoe,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

The sentencing of Mantsoe should send a stern warning to all other perpetrators of violence against women to desist from committing such deplorable acts, she said.

“We have full confidence in our law enforcement that those implicated in the murder of Khumalo will be brought to book,” the minister said.

The accused killer of Khumalo, a 23-year-old man, who cannot yet be named, made his first appearance in the Durban Regional Court on Friday on charges of murder.

             

 

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