Implats miners report for duty

BURGERSFORT

Several workers at Marula Platinum mine and other implats owned mines reported for duty despite the national lockdown implemented by the president Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

The workers were called to return to work on Tuesday by SMSes send on their phones.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of miners were seen queuing outside the mine.

“There was no social- distancing adherance. People came as far as Free State and Gauteng and they were ready for work.”

The miners were briefed by mining unions outside the premises.

The SAPS as well as traffic officials were present monitoring the situation.

One of the speakers from Amcu was heard during the gathering urging the miners to return back home.

“We are urging miners to stay at home and quarantine. We agreed on 3 April that everyone should be at home during the lockdown. Workers have disappointed us because we expected them to come back after the lockdown. Stay at home, you are not immune to Covid-19, “the speaker said.

In an interview with Fin 24, Implats’s Alice Lourens was quoted saying they had been in consultation with various stakeholders.

“This was done in consultation with our stakeholders and in line with all the statutory measures introduced by the government,” said the group’s head of investor relations and corporate communication, Alice Lourens.

Lourens said Implats continued to pay all its employees – those currently doing essential maintenance work and those at home – during the 21-day lockdown which was due to end on April 16, before President Ramaphosa announced its extension to the end of the month.

She said that some of the company’s other operations that aren’t part of essential care and maintenance – such as smelters and refineries – cannot be completely switched off. These have continued to process available inventories, at reduced capacity, during the lockdown. But Implats said this could not be sustained past the initial 21-day lockdown period.

“We are awaiting the announcement of these provisions [in the new lockdown regulations] and will shape our plans to restart the business accordingly in full support of the measure announced by the government to fight the spread of the virus.  This may or may not include provisions to allow some mining activity to resume during this period,” said Lourens as quoted by the publication.

She said while Implats wants to protect the livelihoods of its employees, it also understands that this is not a time for rushed short-term decisions or getting people back to work as soon as possible. 

“Our principle consideration is not a return to business as usual, but rather how best to protect the lives and livelihoods of our people given the challenges of Covid-19,” said Lourens.

“However, we also have to do all we can to sustain the financial viability of our business and the economy of the countries where we operate. Without a viable business and economy, we will simply not have jobs to return to and as a consequence no means to support our families.”

She said the company has made many alterations to increase hygiene, screening and provision of healthcare in its mines.

Thapelo Motseo

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