Following an explosion at the ArcelorMittal plant in Vanderbijl Park, the National Union of Metal Workers has called for the company’s CEO Kobus Verster to be held criminally and personally liable for the untimely death of three workers.

On 17 February 2021, it is alleged that an explosion in the plant caused a building to collapse on top of three workers, who were later declared dead. It is also alleged that fellow employees voluntarily worked hard to retrieve the bodies of their deceased colleagues.

Union workers picket outside ArcelorMittal plant

On Wednesday 24 February 2021 workers who are members of SAFTU (NUMSA affiliate) were picketing outside the ArcelorMittal plant in Vanderbijl Park to submit a memorandum to the management of the plant.

In a statement, NUMSA alleged that for years, the management at ArcelorMittal South Africa has prioritised profits over people and that the management refused for a memorial service to be held on its premises. “The memorial service should have been on Wednesday, 24 February; however, the management refused and reneged on its promise.  Such is the attitude of AMSA, which proves their total disregard of our workers.

“We will not back down until AMSA takes the necessary steps to guarantee the health and safety of employees. We will not back down from exposing the management of AMSA for their cruelty and brutality towards employees.”

The union also said they will not rest until AMSA is transformed and until there is justice for the workers and their families.


READ: ArcelorMittal blast: EFF calls for operating licence to be reviewed

  1. A health and safety audit should be conducted throughout all operations of Arcelor Metal South Africa and that the report must be subjected to public scrutiny.
  2. AMSA CEO Kobus Verster must be held criminally and personally liable for the untimely death of the three workers which is the direct responsibility of the Accounting authority in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  3. The investigation by the Department of Labour to be followed by an inquiry, because of its seriousness and magnitude.
  4. The Department of Labour should make its report into the incident public within 14 days of making findings and that it must litigate on behalf of the families if necessary.
  5. The inclusion of NUMSA health and safety shop stewards in the investigations, as well as in the health and safety audit that must take place at all AMSA operations in the country.

NUMSA said they are giving the management 7 days to respond in writing to their demands and for them to make a firm commitment to support the investigation and the inquiry.


Presh JM Reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *