A Chinese mining company identified as Western Drilling CC has been accused of putting lives of its workers at risk by sending them to the mine near Braunfels Agricultural school in the Kunene region without protective gear.
This is despite the plea by its workers to supply the necessary gear needed by miners to protect themselves during their work activities.
A worker at the mine, Silvanus Nanub, who has been employed at the mining site for three months has said they are working in an unsafe environment.
“We don’t get dust masks, no safety boots or proper overalls. Sometimes we are even forced to be working under rain as the mining site is on a mountain and our camps are few Kilometers from the mining site. So if you go back home when it rains you won’t get paid. The most frustrating thing is that the Chinese do not care if we threaten them that we will take them to the labour office,” Nanub fumed.
He added that most of the employed are there because they are making a living and they do not want to beg in streets and prefer to earn the little money from this opportunity.
Another worker, Romeo Kheib, has said that the money they are paid is fair but the Chinese refuse to assist them with protective clothing.
“I have worked in two different mines before but what I have witnessed here is something different. I am not even sure whether this is a legal mining site. There are no protective clothing we are getting from these guys. They make us work with our own clothing which makes me wonder a lot. I am hoping that someone with the authority will come down and see how we are treated here. I think if someone comes here this mining site will be closed down immediately,” he said.
He added that there are all together 15 miners employed at the site of which two are working as chefs cooking for workers.
Another worker Marius Gaingob has said that by now he might have contracted a lung disease due to the dust.
“We are not safe here at all. God knows what kind of lung disease I might pick up from this work. I pray that the government gets involved and help us out. We really need the government to get involved in this situation. I doubt these Chinese guys read newspapers so just write our names. I do not care what happens next,” he said.
When contacted for comment, the manager who has only been identified as Wung was not reachable on his mobile..
photo credit: South African gold miners (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP / Getty Images)