The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in North East Region is opposed to a call by the Minister of Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) Gwede Mantashe to allow mines in South Africa to operate at 50%.
This is after the NUM North East Regional leadership visited different mines like Booysendal, Marula, Twickenham, Modikwa, Venetia Black chrome, Modikwa Two Rivers, Glencore, PMC, Lion and Dwars this week in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The NUM is concerned that these mines are not adhering to the new regulations.
“Our reasoning behind this is informed by the issue of compliance, which is highly compromised by the mines. And we further call upon the regulator the DMRE to stop with immediate effect all this operation until all measures are adhered to. And the NUM is further worried by the criteria in which the companies are using to recall employees. We are further opposed to the blanket approach for the following measures, screening, testing, transportation, PPE to Health workers and quarantine places should be a priority to all companies before the granting of an exemption to resume operation. Social distancing is not even observed,” said Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary.
“We further call upon DMRE to develop a joint program to visit all the listed mines to satisfy ourselves that adherence to guidelines and measures are put in place to combat the transmission of the pandemic. The NUM is aware that other operations like Dwars and PMC they don’t have transport to ferry workers to and from the place of work but such companies are already granted permissions to resume operations and we question the DMRE on which criteria they applied to grant permission to those mines. Lastly, we call upon the Minister to review his position on the two mines which is Mogalakwena and FOSKOR for being declared Essential Services and our point of the argument is guided by section 71 of LRA,66 of 1996 as amended,” Mankge added.
The NUM is concerned about the health and safety of our members and non-members within our area of the jurisdiction from Musina to Barberton. The NUM is further disturbed by the level of arrogancy level during the consultation and in health care facilities where our members are not treated with dignity and other mines don’t have facilities in place for screening and testing and periodic medicals are done on the same facility. The NUM is extremely disappointed about occupational medical practitioners who are compromising the lives of employees by taking a side of the mine management.
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 including South Africa.. The whole world is grappling with the coronavirus crisis. NUM members and other workers cannot be sacrificed for profits during the crisis. We expect all mining companies in South Africa to adhere to the strict health and safety measures in fighting the virus in their operations. The NUM calls on its members to refuse to work in mines and operations where necessary strict measures are not put in place to protect them from the virus. The NUM will not hesitate to name and shame mining companies that are not adhering to the strict health and safety measures in fighting the virus.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary, 076 053 3401