Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe warned that government would shut down any mining operation found not complying with Level 4 regulations.
“At the heart of our programmes is the protection of people’s lives and livelihoods. When we agreed that mines should operate at reduced capacity, we highlighted the importance of protecting and saving the economic infrastructure beyond the lockdown period.
“It is in the interest of mining operations to comply with the lockdown regulations. We are not going to put people at risk for production,” Mantashe said on Wednesday.
He was speaking at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Bathopele Platinum Mine in Rustenburg, where he monitored compliance with the lockdown Level 4 regulations.
The visit to Rustenburg follows a number of unannounced visits to mining operations to monitor compliance with lockdown regulations.
Sibanye-Stillwater and Old Mutual donated an amount of R1 million for personal protective equipment (PPE).
The donation from Sibanye-Stillwater is part of the mining sector’s support in containing the spread of Covid-19.
Mantashe emphasised that mineworkers must be tested for Covid-19, warning that failure to do this would put the lives of miners at risk.
“The economy will never be the same again. Mining in South Africa will never be the same again. The current lockdown regulations will be applicable far beyond the lockdown period,” said the minister.
He also called for the implementation of a rigorous screening and testing programme as employees returned to work.
Meanwhile, mineworkers at Harmony Gold mines started to panic after the company issued a notice informing them not to return to work unless recalled by management.