The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe ,met with the Minerals Council leadership in Johannesburg on Tuesday to receive updates on how the mining industry plans to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined a plan on how the country will respond to the outbreak on Sunday.
Mantashe said that the department’s health and safety inspectorate were working together with mining companies and labour unions with a focus on preventative control and managing any emerging risks for employees and communities in which mines operate.
“We are on high alert, and we are testing the sector’s level of preparedness.
“Work in the industry began over a month ago after the World Health Organisation announced the outbreak, with a focus on preventative control, and managing any emerging risks,” he said in a statement.
The minister said a 10-point plan was developed in line with department of health and National Institute of Communicable Diseases guidelines.
The department continues to engage with the sector on the use of their medical facilities for the broader communities around mining operations, as well as the use of any safe and unoccupied housing facilities for quarantine, should the need arise.
Thus far no infections have been reported in the sector.
“Working together we have made great strides on the health and safety front in the sector.
“We are confident that our continued partnership to proactively manage the humanitarian and economic impact of this pandemic on the sector, will go a long way,” said Mantashe.
Mantashe said engagements between government and the sector were ongoing.