NUM demands mines to close down

BURGERSFORT – The National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) North East Region in Limpopo is calling for a temporary closure of all the mines in the province on a 100 percent pay to workers.

This is after two mines around Burgersfort have registered a big number of Covid-19 positive cases in one week.

The first mine to have reported positive cases of COVID 19 were Marula Platinum Mine with 19 confirmed cases in a space of 24 hours.

“Just when we thought the dust is setting we have learned with a serious shock that Dwarsrivier  Chrome Mine has 30 confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 on Monday this week,” revealed the union in a statement.

“This is after the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) inspectors have issued instructions to Dwarsrivier to test all their employees and now when the results are coming we start to realize how bad is the gravity of this on the ground,” said Philip Mankge NUM North East Regional Secretary,

 The NUM also called for Limpopo authorities to review the state of Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality (FTLM) quickly and return the municipality to level 5 of lockdown, especially around issues that affect movements and social distancing.

The union said they also received disturbing reports that Modikwa Platinum Mine has also registered a confirmed case of COVID 19 on the 18th May 2020.

“Modikwa is the only mine in the eastern belt which is still using the biometric system and a mounted breathalyzer system which the Department of Health and the NUM raised concern over it but the company refused to remove it, through the assistance of Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) inspectors who visited the mine earlier this month.”

“It is our belief that should the mines listened to the advice from the unions when we were calling for regulation 11.k (a) which talks about rigorous screening and testing and regulation (d) which  talks about employers to provide transport to employees from their areas of residents to work.

“The NUM is not in favour of the blanket approach that has been granted by the Minister of DMRE Gwede Mantashe. We argue that each mine should have been given a directive to put measures first and later granted permission when all measures are in place,” said Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary.

The union further called on the law enforcement agencies to arrest mine managers who are deliberately ignoring COVID-19 regulations.

Thapelo Motseo

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