Parliament, Thursday, 19 March 2019 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr. Sahlulele Luzipo, has welcomed the initiative by Minister Gwede Mantashe who has proactively met with mining companies to discuss the state of readiness to prevent the speared of coronavirus in the workplace.
Minister Mantashe called a meeting in response to the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that where people gather, they should not exceed 100. Accordingly, it is common cause that underground operations in the mines are carried out by a high number of workers at a go.
Mr. Luzipo has welcomed a pledge mining company made to Minister Mantashe to avail of some of their hostels for quarantine purposes as well as beefing up human resource capacity at their own private clinics in order to conduct regular screening on workers.
Although it is understood to be less likely for coronavirus to thrive underground, owing to high temperatures, Mr. Luzipo implored companies to comply with all the precautionary measures according to the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health, as well as measures announced by President Ramaphosa.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 brings about the need for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to accelerate work on the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Bill, which should address measures to be taken in the event of pandemics like COVID-19 in the future,” said Mr. Luzipo.