The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the KwaZulu-Natal region is deeply concerned and disturbed about the second Coronavirus infection at Eskom Drakensberg Pump Storage. The sad reality is that NUM had already warned Eskom Drakensburg management about their priorities.
On 17th April 2020, we wrote to the management of Eskom indicating our concerns regarding the developing case that broke in the plant. After that, we followed up by sending another correspondence on 27th April 2020 indicating that the place remains a high risk. Furthermore, we expressed our dissatisfaction with regards to non-compliance when it comes to controlling the environment.
“We were made aware by the NUM Drakensberg branch leadership that the area was not barricaded and disinfected as regulations stipulate, however, because management was adamant to continue with the planned outage they continued to call contractors in a non-disinfectant area. Furthermore, we didn’t see a report of the first case and still not informed about the latest 13 employees who were in contact with the new case. NUM is worried about Eskom’s tendency of hiding the Coronavirus cases,” said Muzikayise Zakwe, NUM Kwazulu-Natal Regional Regional Secretary
“NUM has been informed about the second case which has been registered in the same area where the planned outage was continuing and now they have called off the outage. We call upon the Department of Health in the province to conduct the contact tracing and interview employees, the Department must refrain relying on management as they continuously show no interest for employees at heart. NUM in KwaZulu Natal views Eskom Drakensburg actions as an act of barbarism and we want to caution them that they must stop risking our member’s lives,” Zakwe added.
The NUM is extremely disappointed with the Department of Labour & Employment since we reported on the 10th of May 2020 that Eskom Drakensburg was not complying and they promise to go and inspect the working area on the 11th May 2020. We are surprised that inspector Mr Sifiso Malinga didn’t attend the area as promised.
We call on the Department of Labour and Employment in the Province to take matters of workplace serious and do inspections since these employers are not prepared & willing to follow the regulations and guidelines as laid by them.
“NUM was left with no choice but to send its team to go meet Drakensberg management and we will be forced to ask all our members for the sake of safety to stay home not expose themselves if the employer is failing to fumigate the area. This also must be a wake-up call to other Eskom departments in the province such as distribution as they also failing to comply with guidelines and regulations because we have run out of patience to beg with our lives,” Zakwe concluded.
For more information, please contact:
Muzikayise Zakwe: NUM Kwazulu-Natal Regional Regional Secretary: 066 475 2246 or 072 359 6170