The Gauteng government has classified the West Rand District Municipality a Covid-19 hotspot, Premier David Makhura has said.
Makhura was speaking at Sibanye Gold Mine in Carletonville on Thursday after meeting with officials and union representatives from mining houses around the West Rand.
Officials from Anglo Gold Ashanti, Harmony, Gold Fields and Sibanye were present as well as the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
Makhura was joined by the MECs for health and infrastructure development Bandile Masuku and Tasneem Motara, respectively.
The provincial command council decided to visit the area after concerns were raised following reports that 196 Anglo Gold Ashanti Mponeng workers had tested positive for the virus. On Sunday, Fin24 reported 164 mineworkers had tested positive.
Makhura said the area had since been a matter of concern which it would be working on together with the national government.
He added it was concerning that more than 190 workers from one mine had tested positive for the virus, adding the government had since been working with Anglo Gold to ensure traced contacts were followed up on and that there were health and safety measures put in place at the mine.
Makhura said the provincial government had been working with Anglo Gold to ensure there were follow-ups on all traced contacts, adding some of them were within the communities around the mine.
As of Monday, 11 workers had tested positive across all Sibanye Stillwater’s operations, its head of invest relations, James Wellsted, said.
Five of the cases were from the West Rand and three have since recovered and been discharged.
Wellsted said the mine was also busy with contact tracing at one of its platinum mines in Rustenburg.
The command council said it would be visiting the district in two weeks’ time to assess progress in the screening and testing of workers and communities.
“We don’t just trace the contacts for its own sake, we also do so in order to quarantine those at least for 14 days until we have observed all of them and assured that if they are not positive they are also released,” Makhura said.
He added it was important that the mines were screening and eventually testing all its workers.
Anglo Gold has since closed operations after testing 650 workers, of which 196 were positive.
Makhura said mining was one of the sectors that were a high risk because of the large number of workers and density.
“I want to say, just based on the numbers of infections, we want to classify the West Rand as a hotspot. You would know in the announcement that was made by the president, these numbers were not yet there.
“Just given the infection rate that has happened in the mines, in particularly in one mine here, from the provincial point of view, the West Rand is going to be a hotspot. We will direct all the necessary provincial support and also ask for national support to help ensure we contain the spread of the virus, particularly in the mines,” he added.