Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

UNION federation Cosatu took aim at Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Wednesday, accusing him of "nationalistic attitudes" towards mine workers trapped in Langlaagte.

"We are worried that the minister is not really committed to rescuing these miners because he keeps emphasising the fact that they are allegedly foreigners," the federation said in a statement.

This is the second time in September that Cosatu has criticised Zwane, after calling for President Jacob Zuma to discipline him following his decision to "publicly present his personal views on the Oakbay Investment vs Banks matter as a Cabinet decision".

The federation said on Wednesday that there had been similar calls for a judicial inquiry by workers at Lily Mine. Cosatu accused Zwane of "failing" trapped illegal miners in the same manner as those trapped at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga. The bodies of three workers remain trapped in a container there, after a sinkhole developed in February.

Zwane has said previously such an inquiry may take place and said criminal proceedings would follow if necessary, but has said recovery of the trapped mine workers would take priority.

At Langlaagte, the recovery of two bodies at the disused mineshaft on Wednesday led to criticism of the department’s engagement with illegal miners, as well as rescue officials, who had discontinued search proceedings citing safety concerns on Tuesday.

"We do not want platitudes and staged appearances from the minister but we expect him to provide leadership and bring about solutions to the existing problems in the mining sector," Cosatu said on Wednesday.

"We have seen very little from government by the way of implementing the ANC resolution of the nationalisation of the strategic sectors of the economy and the establishment of a state mining company," the federation said.

TMG Digital