The Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) met with various trade unions to discuss the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, and to combat its impact on the mining industry, its employees and mining communities.
Unions present were the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and UASA.
All parties have to date been actively involved in managing the adverse impacts of COVID-19 in numerous ways and have committed to collaborate to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are secured and efficiently rolled out to employees and host communities where possible, and to address misinformation to ensure voluntary and informed decision-making and participation to enable as many people as possible to be able will take up the opportunity to be vaccinated.
One million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in South Africa on Monday 01 February 2021. An additional 500 000 doses are expected in February 2021. During his presidential address MCSA president Mxolisi Mgojo mentioned that the mining industry was willing and able to assist government in getting people vaccinated. “Our collective priority and responsibility as a nation is to get as many ‘jabs-in-arms’ as possible, as quickly as possible, to save lives and livelihoods,” Mgojo said.
He explained that the mining industry had the capacity to vaccinate between 60 000 and 80 000 people daily. This works out to approximately 3 million people in two months. “And that’s not just our own workforce of 450 000 people. For every employee vaccinated we would envisage vaccinating at least five more people be they employee family members or community members,” Mgojo added.
The joint message from all parties was: It is only through collaboration that we as an industry and as a nation will succeed in overcoming the pandemic to save lives and livelihoods.