All the seven bodies of the miners who had been trapped at Bux Mine in Gwanda have been retrieved, amid efforts by government to prioritise safety at mines.
There was silence at the accident scene as the first body reached the shaft entrance this Tuesday morning as family members and relatives witnessed the retrieval process.
“It is hard. Look, the bodies have been in the water for a long time and the smell may not be pleasant, but there is nothing you can do. It is our job to rescue people,” said Cleopas Karima, rescue team captain.
After the retrieval of all the bodies, safety at mines is now the major talking point.
Philemon Mokoeli, Zimbabwe Miners Federation Secretary General said, “It is unfortunate that most of the miners take safety issues for granted, and when we call meetings or workshops to teach them these things they don’t cooperate. We need to do more. We have been having these cases in the province, we have engaged the School of Mines to train miners on safety.”
Preliminary results from the investigations into the accident revealed an oversight on safety issues by the mine owners.
“In terms of the law, the equipment they are using should be commissioned by the chief government mining engineer and that did not happen because if it had happened, I would not have accepted a situation where they use the 8mm rope on a cork pan,” noted chief government mining engineer, Michael Munodawafa.
Governments has included a thematic area on decent work in the National Development Strategy One as a measure to address incidences like the Bux Mine accident.
Honourable Polite Kambamura, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Development said, “As government, we are saddened by the unfortunate incident that has claimed lives of miners. We urge the community around to adhere to all safety standards to make sure that such things won’t happen in future.”
Meanwhile, the police are still verifying the deceased’s identities.