Home News NUM concerned about rate of Covid-19 infections at NC mines

NUM concerned about rate of Covid-19 infections at NC mines

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NUM said that there was a concern that positive cases were often not reported at mines, with the actual number of infections not being accurately captured.

File image. Photo: Itumeleng English African News Agency

THE NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is concerned about the rate of Covid-19 infections at mining operations in the Northern Cape.

NUM regional secretary Cornelius Manhe indicated on Tuesday that there was a concern that positive cases were often not reported at mines, with the actual number of infections not being accurately captured.

“It is worrying that the number of Covid-19-related deaths at some of the mines in the Province are rising. Even if the mining companies follow all the regulations, there are still incidences where workers are falling ill. We will only be satisfied once there are zero infections,” said Manhe.

He added that in some cases mineworkers were not paid if they did not report for work.

“Workers therefore resist being placed under quarantine even if they are displaying symptoms as they know that they will not receive an income if they are sitting at home.

“Workers also expose family members to the virus if they contract an infection.”

Manhe stated that some mines did not have self-isolation and quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile, Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul and the MEC for Health, Maruping Lekwene, met with the Minerals Council, comprising of the chief executive officers and chief operating officers of all the mines operating in the Northern Cape, on Tuesday to discuss “breaking the chain” of Covid-19 transmissions in the mining sector.

Also under discussion was upskilling the labour force in the Province in order to save jobs and to create jobs, especially for youths.

The spokesperson for the Office of the Premier, Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams, said that the provincial government felt encouraged by the relatively low rate of infections in the mining sector.

“The premier, Dr Zamani Saul, attributes this to the proactive response by the mines working closely with government to ensure that we contain the spread of Covid-19.”

She added that provincial government welcomed the introduction of a private laboratory for testing for Covid-19 by the mines in the John Taolo Gaetsewe area, which could be utilised by family members of mine workers and the community.