The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is disturbed and disappointed after an employee tested positive for Coronavirus at Dwarsrivier mine in Limpopo. On the 16th April 2020 the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Zuma, designated under Section 3 of the Disaster Management Act,2002 (ACT no 57 of 2002), has declared a national state of disaster published in government Gazette no.40096 on the 15th March 2020 hereby informs of section 27 (2)of Disaster Management Act, after consultation with relevant stakeholders accordingly made the regulations in the schedule.
The NUM carefully scrutinised chapter of 4 of the regulations guidelines and it gives clear directive to mining operations as referred to in paragraph 22 of part B of Annexure (B) mines must be operated at a reduced capacity of not more than 50%. The NUM in North East reiterates its call to the regulatory department to relook at the decision to allow mines to operate at 50%.
The NUM is opposed to mines operating at 50% due to the following reasons:
1. The issue of social distancing in a mining environment is not going to be practically applicable
2. The NUM is disturbed to learn that there is a confirmed case of COVID 19 at Dwarsrivier Mine. According to the information at our disposal is that this employee has been recalled back to work on the 29 April 2020 and on her arrival, she went through a process of screening and her temperature was too high. Immediately the company referred her for COVID-19 testing and on the 3rd May 2020, the results came back being confirmed positive. The NUM is disappointed on how this matter has been handled because we have not been informed of this incident until yesterday on the 4th May 2020.
“The NUM is deeply concerned that before this incident on 2nd April 2020 during night shift around 19h00 we received a call from employees on duty who reported that an employee has been recalled from the neighbouring country to come back to work and for that matter to start his shift during the night shift,” said Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary.
“We want to highlight the issue of arrogancy level from this company because according to the information the General Manager is the one who authorised the permits. The NUM wants to highlight the fact that in terms of regulation 11 (k)(e) it says workers from neighbouring countries must be recalled to their place of employment at the end of lockdown period. We call upon the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) to implement the regulations to send a strong warning that the regulations are not meant only for lower-level employees. We expect the regulatory department to take drastic actions against this arrogant company for not adhering to the regulations,” Mankge added.
The NUM would like to draw the attention of the public to our previous media statement released two weeks back where we highlighted to the regulatory department that we asked why should it grant permission to mines like Dwarsrivier which are not in compliant with regulation 11 (k) (d) that says mining companies must make arrangements to transport their employees from their homes to their respective areas of operations.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary, 076 053 3401
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111