The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has expressed concern about the number of Covid-19 cases reported at South African mines and has called on the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to stop mining operations until all safety measures have been adhered to.
Following the outbreak of the virus in the mining industry, and with infections on the rise, the NUM has proposed that all mining operations that have a high number of Covid-19 infections be temporarily closed until the situation is remedied.
It noted, however, that all workers would need to be paid their full salaries during the temporary closure of the affected mines and said that all mine managers whose companies are not adhering to the Covid-19 regulations must be arrested.
Within the context of national law, workers can, with reasonable justification, remove themselves from unsafe working conditions and not return until the employer has remedied the situation, and if they have exercised this right in good faith, they cannot suffer undue consequences, the union said.
As such, the NUM has called on its members to refuse to work in the mines and operations where necessary strict measures are not put in place to protect workers from the virus.
AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine, near Carletonville, currently has 196 positive cases of Covid-19 and has temporarily shut, while the Moab Khutsong mine, in Matlosana, has ten positive cases.