Mining sector needs to play pivotal role in curbing COVID-19 spread – MEC Ramathuba

SEKHUKHUNE –Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, has urged the mining sector to intensify availability of resources to fight the spread of COVID-19 spread in the sector.

MEC Ramathuba was speaking at the opening of the launch of Capricorn District Municipality (CDM) Food Bank in Polokwane at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday morning.

The MEC said as a province, they noticed mining was one of the biggest economic activity and that the nature of the sector made it a very high risk.

“If one mine worker is infected, to infect all 3000 mine workers will just take probably a few hours because of the nature of how the industry is operating. We know in Limpopo we have different mines across the province. And of course it is a concern for us, as government, as the department of health, to say, once mines must start operating, how are going to really help,”

 Ramathuba said that was the reason they made a call and met with some in the mining fraternity who are mining within the province.

 “We are saying every single mine worker, irrespective of the level of they are operating, from man at the gate to the CEO, to those going underground, no one must resume their duties when they come back, until we are sure that they are quarantined by the mine itself for 14 days ,” said Ramathuba.

 The MEC called for the mines to make sure that all employees, all work force was quarantined for 14 days and were tested.

“Some of them are telling us about the NICT guideline. We are saying their area of operation can never be the same as what we are doing in terms of massive screening and testing.  When we do massive screening and testing we are screening people who are not at high risk to spread the virus as the mine workers would do. So we want to protect the people of Limpopo. People have gone on a lockdown in different parts. Some were not even in the country when the lockdown was announced by the president. They will come back and infections will spread. What we are talking about seeing our numbers being minimal is going to be history. What we talking about Sekhukhune not having any case is going to be history.

 She said for the province to continue to protect the people of Sekhukhune against COVID-19 infections, mines needed to play their role.

“Mines must be able to come in here. The mines have resources. Now is that time that we need them. Quarantine everyone for 14 days, compulsory testing of everyone. And then after, we will then be able to start operating, when we know we can, then start talking about hand sanitization and wearing of masks, let’s do first things first and you will see us moving forward. We are a resource constrained province. Let’s prevent COVID-19 spread. Let’s make sure that when we take everyone underground we are sure of their status,” concluded Ramathuba.       

Thapelo Motseo

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