CNRG and Labour Unions call for National Day/Public Holiday to honour Kamandama Mine disaster victims


spiked online media

in , ,
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready…

The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), National Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (NMWUZ), and Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) are urging the government to declare June 6th as a national day to commemorate the 1972 Kamandama Mine disaster and to raise awareness on the deteriorating safety standards in the mines.

On June 6, 1972, 427 mine workers lost their lives in one of Zimbabwe’s deadliest mining accidents. Despite this tragic event, the mining industry continues to experience frequent accidents, with 2023 being one of the worst years on record, claiming 237 lives. This is almost equivalent to four 60-seater buses crashing with no one surviving. Were it the case certainly drastic measures were going to be put in place to ensure this does not recur.

According to the Chamber of Mines’ 2023 survey, a staggering 80% of these fatalities occurred in underground mining sites, highlighting the urgent need for improved safety measures and regulations in this lucrative but hazardous sector.

Investigations have revealed that neglecting critical equipment maintenance, failing to conduct thorough structural integrity inspections, and human errors have contributed to these accidents. The mining sector, particularly Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM), faces significant Occupational Health and Safety challenges.

The proliferation of gold mining has exacerbated these issues, with ASGM being particularly hazardous due to, numerous uncontrolled hazards, lack of safety standards and increased risk of mine collapses and accidents.

“These concerns underscore the need for a robust and sustained approach to address the safety and health risks in the mining industry. It also highlights the urgent need for enhanced compliance and monitoring, improved worker training programs, and raising awareness.

By designating a national day/public holiday, we can:

  • Raise awareness about the deplorable working conditions, unfair labour practices, and poor mining practices that continue to put workers at
  • Honour the contributions and sacrifices of those affected by the Kamandama Mine disaster, including surviving spouses and
  • Encourage mining companies, government, regulators, and individuals to take action in support of occupational health and safety in the mining
  • Demonstrate our country’s commitment to the welfare of
  • Mobilize resources to improve safety standards in the mining


“We believe that declaring a national day for Kamandama would be a powerful step towards creating a more just, equitable, and compassionate society. We urge the government to act and make this important designation a reality.

“Join us in calling on the government to establish a national day for Kamandama. Together, we can make a difference and create a brighter future for all,” the CSos and Unions said in a joint statement.