The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Highveld Region is perturbed by how South 32 treats its employees during the 21 days of lockdown when everyone is expected to fight Coronavirus (COVID-19). The NUM Highveld Region is extremely worried that South 32 takes unilateral decisions and implement them without consulting organised labour especially the NUM as a majority union. The decision by South 32 to take unilateral decisions without consulting with the organise labour is reckless and irresponsible.

This company disregards the recognition agreement when it is clear that employees must be represented by the recognized union of their choice. However, they adopt a divide and rule strategy where issues are directly communicated to workers without engaging the union. This indeed creates serious problems since workers will communicate with their union for representation only to find that the NUM has not been informed. 

 The NUM take Coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously and strive to negotiate for better working conditions without compromising the lives of its members.

“We have tried to reach out to South 32 to correct their communication to all employees of forcing employees to take leave during the 21 days of lockdown. We must indicate that we were met by a high level of arrogance by the company as they say they have a right to communicate with their employees. Our stance is very clear that the Minister of labour warned such employers that employees should not be forced to take leaves during this period. It is also within the right of the NUM to ensure that South 32 complies with government directives in protecting its members,” said Tshilidzi Mathavha, NUM Highveld Regional Secretary.

 “The reason why South 32 avoids engaging NUM during the 21 days of lockdown is that NUM has raised fundamental issues of compliance with regard to precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus at the workplace. It was confirmed that three employees were part of the cruise ships which had a number of people who tested positive of Coronavirus (COVID-19). These employees were allowed to come to work until NUM complained because Minister of Transport Fikile Mablula made it during the press briefing that those people should be quarantined first,” Mathavha added. 

NUM remains committed to fighting the spread of the Coronavirus and we call upon our members to listen to the leadership of the union as there are the only ones with their best interest as opposed to the communications from the employer.

The Coronavirus is a way more dangerous than just the flu and it is killing thousands of people around the world. Many countries have declared war on the virus. The whole world is grappling with the coronavirus crisis while some mining companies like South 32 are not taking Coronavirus seriously. We are hoping that these mining companies will respect the directive from President Cyril Ramaphosa of a 21-days of lockdown. NUM members and other workers cannot be sacrificed for profits during this crisis.

For more detailed information, please contact:

Tshilidzi Mathavha, NUM Highveld Regional Secretary, 066 305 7424


7 Rissik Street.

cnr Frederick,

Johannesburg 2001

Tel: 011 377 2111