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Press Statement, 07 May 2020
NUM IS DEEPLY CONCERNED AFTER A SECOND EMPLOYEE TESTED POSITIVE OF CORONAVIRUS AT DWARSRIVIER MINE IN LIMPOPO
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in North East Region is angered and disturbed by the confirmation of the second COVID-19 case at Dwarsrivier Mine. This happened a day after a visit from the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE). The NUM can confirm that a second employee in Dwarsrivier Mine near Steelpoort has tested positive on the 06th May 2020 and this comes after the first employee tested positive on the 3rd May 2020. It is alleged that the second employee made contact with the first employee. The NUM is also concerned that Dwarsrivier Mine does not have a quarantine facilities.
"The NUM can confirm that yesterday around 16h00 the mine management reported the second case of COVID 19. This is after the mine has traced the primary contact from the first victim and send them for testing and as such the results came back from one employee who have confirmed to be positive. We would like to call the mine, not to be reckless like they did with the first case and act with speed to trace all the people and take them for isolation and testing. We further urge the company to fog and disinfect all the areas within the premises before they could resume operation. The NUM is calling upon all the mines in the Eastern Limb who have been ignoring our call to adhere to regulations as prescribed by the Minister," said Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary.
"We are very concerned with how the General Manager and his management team has handled the first case of COVID-19 confirmed on the 3rd May 2020. The NUM has pleaded with both the company and Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to trace all the people with the first victim before they could consider resuming operation but in vain, instead, the DMRE in that meeting has given the mine permission to resume operation," Mankge added.
The NUM in North East Region is not going to stop being vocal and raising issues that affect the lives of our members. We will continue to advocate for the rights of our members and be the voice of the voiceless and the poor. Once more we would like to name and shame the DMRE inspectors on how they have conducted themselves in the meeting that took place in Dwarsrivier on the 05th May 2020, we have observed with shame on how DMRE inspectors ignored their duties and responsibility and opted to represent the views of the company. The NUM raised some of the irregularities that the mines don't comply with, like regulation 11 (k)(d) however, as usual, DMRE decided to brush aside those points and continued to be biased.
The NUM would like to remind the DMRE inspectors of their duties as conferred by Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) that in terms of section 50(ii) An inspector may the purpose of monitoring or enforcing compliance with this ACT_
(a) enter any mine at anytime without a warrant or notice
And section 54 of Mine Health and Safety Act no:29 of 1996 read thus; if an inspector has a reason to believe that any occurrence, practice or conditions at a mine endanger or may endanger the health and safety of any person at the mine, the inspectors give any instructions necessary to protect the health and safety of persons at the mine. Based on the above we call upon the Minister of Department of Minerals Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe to request a report of all the mines visited by DMRE in Limpopo and send a high-level team of inspectors to verify such reports.
The NUM is calling upon all the workers and the South African citizens to stay at home during this lockdown period, wash their hands regularly, wear their masks and report any deviations from the mines to their respective branches.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary, 076 053 3401
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Twitter: @Num Media