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Press Statement, 12 May 2020
NUM NORTH EAST REGION IS UNHAPPY WITH MOGALAKWENA MINE MANAGEMENT FOR KEEPING ITS FIRST COVID-19 CASE SECRET
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in North East Region is highly disturbed and extremely shocked to learn that one of the mines to register the first case of COVID 19 during the first period of Lockdown was Mogalakwena Mine which is situated next to Mokopane Town in Limpopo. Mogalakwena Mine is owned by Anglo American.
"It came as a shock to everyone's ears during the meeting which was held between the company, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and NUM when the company disclosed to have been the first company to register the first case of COVID 19 but decided to keep it secret. The reason behind that is only informed by the company being greedy and focusing on profits. General Manager Mr Richard Cox claims to be misinformed by the Occupational Medical Practitioner," said Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary.
"The reason why the General Manager decided to hide this case was that Mogalakwena Mine was one of the mines to be granted permission to operate during the first period of lockdown. The mine took a stupid decision to hide this case to avoid jeopardizing their chances of being denied the opportunity to maximize profits. COVID-19 is a killer virus and the government has directed mines to resume operations at 50% capacity and issued clear guidelines to the mines to adhere to the regulations," Mankge added.
The NUM is further disturbed by another company in Steelpoort Glencore Lion Smelter which deliberately misinterpreted regulation 11J chapter 4 of Disaster management Act 2002 amendment of regulation issued in terms of section 27 (2). The General Manager Mr Andre Van Zyl is claiming to be producing energy and petroleum. We have been engaging with this company for some time now but in vain. We, therefore, call upon Department of Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi and his inspectors in Limpopo province to send inspectors to stop this operation.
The NUM is worried by the number of cases already confirmed since the mines were allowed to resume operation on a 50% capacity in Limpopo province. We have about 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and this call for an urgent call to Limpopo Provincial government to be radical and enforce measures to flatten the curfew. Another mine that has been reported to have a COVID-19 case is Tubatse Alloys Smelter which has registered the case on the 9th May 2020. Tubatse Alloys Smelter is situated next to DRIEKOP where the first case of COVID 19 in Sekhukhune was first reported.
Lastly, the NUM calls upon the community and workers to adhere to lockdown rules by staying at home, wash their hands regularly and sanitize.
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