REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON THE
OVERSIGHT VISIT TO HARMONY GOLD MINE ELAND SHAFT IN WELKOM, DATED 7 JULY 2009.
The Select Committee on Economic Development having undertaken an oversight visit to Harmony Gold Mine Eland Shaft on the 19 June 2009, reports as follows:
1. Aim of the visit
On 10 June 2009, the Select Committee on Economic Development unanimously agreed to visit Harmony Gold’s Eland Shaft to assess and familiarise itself with the tragic death of illegal miners. The Committee’s intention in exercising its oversight role was to engage the mine management, hostel dwellers and the Department of Police. The Committee visited the hostel to identify problem areas in relation to measures to prevent unauthorised persons from gaining access to abandoned mines. The Committee also wanted to see how best Parliament could intervene in improving the safety record of mines in South Africa.
Select Committee on Economic Development
Hon. F Adams [Chairperson], Hon. E C Van Lingen (DA), Hon. B A Mnguni (ANC), Hon. M L Moshodi (ANC), Hon. S S Chen (DA), Hon. M C Dikgale (ANC), Hon. K A Sinclair (COPE), Hon. M C Maine (ANC), Ms N G Dinizulu (Committee Secretary) and Mr M Erasmus (Committee Assistant).
Department of Minerals and Energy
Mr P Bezuidenhout: Principal Inspector of Mines; and Mr D Msiza: Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines.
South African Police Service
Mr D R Mokone: Cluster Commander - Welkom; Director S Muller: Station Commissioner; Mr R J A Earle: Superintendent: Crime Prevention; Mr D M Mongali; Mr L J Tsuuene: Provincial Head Detectives; Mr Mashego: Provincial Commissioner; Mr Kgotile:Captain and Mr A S Foley: Commander Detective.
Harmony Gold Mine
Mr A Khuzwayo: Harmony Gold Management; Mr E Van Rensburg: Management Security; Ms E Cilliers: Technical Services; Mr H E Mashego: Human Resources Executive; Mr A Buthelezi; and
Mr P K Mohale: Group Human Resources Leader
National Union of Mineworkers
Mr C Kwaza: Regional Treasurer; Mr N Siqwala: Regional Deputy Chairperson; Mr P Hlabizulu: Deputy Secretary for Health and Safety; and Mr M Masukela: Deputy Chairperson for Education.
3. Overview and Proceedings
The Department of Minerals and Energy gave a short briefing to the Committee which was followed by extensive discussions.
4. Briefing by Department of Minerals and Energy
The Department informed the Committee that in September 2008 an operation was initiated to address the illegal mineworkers (Zama Zama) issue in the Goldfields Region. It was agreed that there was a need to involve different role players i.e. the South African Police Service (SAPS) Explosives Unit, Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), SAPS Intervention Unit, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Local police stations, SAPS Organized Crime and neighboring mines.
A presentation was handed out to all role players as well as Harmony Gold Mine Management and Unions regarding the current situation of underground activities of Zama Zamas at the mines. Several accidents occurred where the Zama Zamas threatened legal mine workers in active working areas. Zama Zamas have also started to mine the B-Reef areas at Tshepong and
Masimong 5 shafts. A joint SAPS and Mine Security operation was consequently conducted at all concerned shafts. The operation, which was named, “Operation Zama – Zama” commenced on
16 February 2009.
4.1 Breakdown of arrests, injuries, deaths and disciplinary action i.r.o illegal mining
The Committee was provided with a breakdown of the numbers of illegal miners arrested, sick/injured/deceased, mine employees disciplined and contractors who faced disciplinary charges from 2007-2009:
2007 2008 2009
Illegal Miners Arrested 475 757 806
Illegal Miners Injured 13 66 16
Illegal Miners 36 8 105
Mine employees being 64 80 101
Contractors being 54 56 50
4.2 Money, property and foodstuffs recovered
Between January 2007 and May 2008 an amount of R133 123.10 was recovered from illegal miners. Between November 2008 and December 2008 an amount of R13 230 was recovered from illegal miners. For the period January 2007 to May 2008 an amount of R96 340 was recovered from the mine employees. Recovery of property and foodstuff belonging to the mine amounted to R2 23 0522.55, while the amount of cash found in the possession of Zama-Zamas totalled R213 415.20. Two tons of gold-bearing material (GBM) valued at R1.4 million and 1.5 kg Amalgam valued at R156 000 were also recovered.
4.3 Progress on suggestions made during the meeting held in Bloemfontein on 11 November 2008
; The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) requested that an agreement be reached
between all the Mine Unions that no foodstuff or money will be taken underground.
Progress in this regard is still ongoing.
; Steps have been taken for more serious charges to be brought against illegal miners. ; Measures are in place for Prosecutors to present evidence in aggravation of sentence. ; Measures are in place for severe disciplinary action against Mine/Contractor and Security
; Measures to address money laundering are in place.
; Measures are in place to obtain legal advice in respect of employees of contractor
; The SAPS Task Team Intervention is in progress.
; Steps have been taken to build up a database of illegal miners and their accomplices. ; Measures are in force in terms of which all monies found on miners going underground
will be seized.
; Security personnel will investigate all incidents.
; Apprehended miners should be encouraged to identify their contacts inside and outside
the mine. Possible plea bargaining processes are in place.
; A zero tolerance policy is being applied.
; Programs are currently being presented to employees on ethics, honesty and integrity,
economic impact, loss of job opportunities, etc. in order to address the moral fiber issue. ; Progress is being made to establish a safe “whistle blowing” procedure.
; The initiative for raids to be conducted by SAPS units from outside the Free State due to
corruption and involvement of some members is in the planning phase, and a meeting
was scheduled for 09/02/2009.
; The National Union of Mine Workers and the Solidarity Mine Union which operate in the
Harmony South Region, as well as internal Mine Management were given presentations
on illegal mining.
; The recommendation that employment contracts contain a clause indicating that illegal
mining activities will result in summary dismissal has not yet been implemented. ; The company should weigh up the losses that they will suffer from a 2 to 3 day total shut
; A Group Database linked with surrounding mining houses for Criminal miners, Mine and
Contractor employees who have been charged for whatever reason and dismissed is not
yet in place.
5. Remedial actions to be undertaken by the following entities:
; Regular inspection and checks of attendance records.
; Audits of explosives.
; Urgent investigations on suspected illegal activities.
; Hostel raids.
; Local authorities to work together with SAPS and mine inspectors.
; Community education programmes on danger and health issues of illegal mining. ; Amendment of Mine Health and Safety Act, 2008 to increase fines for non-compliance
with safety regulations from R200 000 to R1 million.
5.2 Harmony Gold Mine
; Access Control
; Food stoppage: Searches will be conducted by security personnel and a managerial
instruction will be issued in compliance with the judicial system to support prosecutors in
prosecuting mine workers assisting Zama Zamas.
; Operation Night Hawk: Mine security is to clamp down on food supply to underground
; Explosives Control: Audits will be conducted by SAPS or Department of Minerals and
5.3 Mine Owners
; Improved access control on all mines.
; Daily monitoring of access into and out of mines.
; Tighten controls over explosives.
; Report suspected illegal operations to authorities.
; Monitor underground environment and report to authorities regarding dangerous
; Employee campaigns to expose illegal operations.
5.4 Labour Unions
; Member campaigns to expose illegal operations.
; Report suspected illegal operations to authorities.
6. Presentation by Department of Police: Crime situation in Thabong and illegal mining hostels
6.1 Historical background
The G-hostel in Thabong is situated in the main street, Constantia Road, near the Teto Secondary School in Zone 1. About 2 500 people are accommodated at G-hostel. The hostel which belongs to the municipality was renovated to accommodate family units. Most of the residents are municipal employees or people employed by the industrial sector. Many of the residents are also involved in illegal mining activities and the illegal selling of gold, liquor and firearms.
6.2 Challenges facing Department of Police
; The environmental design of the hostel is conducive to crime, because it allows passages
between the hostel units which make the pursuit of suspects difficult. ; The infrastructure is poor, the roads and entrances to the hostel units are full of potholes
and trenches and the road condition exceptionally poor.
; It is nearly impossible to action a cordon and search operation, because the area is not
; Access to the units is poor for the police and other local authority services because of the
construction of illegal structures.
; Most of the residents are not co-operating with the police, since many are involved in
crime or have relations with persons involved in criminal activities. ; Many of the residents living in the hostel have no legal right to live there. Undocumented
people frequent the hostel and occupy some of the units without being traced. ; There is an open field between the mine property and the hostel, and thus hostel dwellers
can come and go undetected.