The Chief Executive Officer of Impala Platinum Mine, Mark Munroe, has been granted bail of R60 000 by the Tlhabane Magistrate’s Court in Rustenburg in the North West. He is charged with contravening the Disaster Management Act.
This after he allegedly issued notices to over 60 000 Impala employees, including those who are not part of essential services, to report for duty on Tuesday this week. During roadblocks, police told most of the mine workers to go back home for not having permits. Impala mine has been granted permission to only operate at 50% capacity as part of the national lockdown.
39-year-old Mark Munroe, accompanied by his legal representative handed himself over to the Phokeng police station, where he was formally charged. He was then later taken to the Tlhabane Magistrate’s court.
During his appearance, the state argued that he has committed a serious offence, and as such he be granted R100 000 bail. However, his legal team argued that he cooperated with the police and requested for him to be released on warning. Presiding magistrate, Amanda Roos, granted him R60 000 bail.
He is expected to appear again in court on the 4th of August this year. Trade union federation, COSATU in the province, has welcomed the arrests of Munroe.
COSATU Provincial Secretary Kopano Konopi says the mining industry is a mass-based industry and adhering to social distancing may be difficult.
“The mining industry is a mass-based industry and it is very difficult to adhere to social distancing when you are in such an industry. In that regard calling the workers in mass to resume duties, you are putting their lives and their families in danger and you are going to allow the spread at the pace that we do not want. We want to contain the virus so that we should reopen the economy and the country,” says Konopi.
Coordinator for the ANC Provincial Interim Committee, Hlomane Chauke, has called on mining companies to adhere to the lockdown regulations.
“We want to make this call that all mining houses in the province it is important that all of them must adhere to the regulations and what is important again is that national government especially the Department of Minerals must communicate such decisions if they have taken any decisions around which mines must open if granted permission. They must communicate that with the provincial government so that everybody on the ground knows and understand,” says Chauke.
Meanwhile, the police in the North West say they have arrested over 9 700 people for contravening the Disaster Management Act.
Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Patrick Asaneng elaborates, “So far in the North West we have arrested 9754 people and these arrests include amongst others those who have been arrested for contravening the different provisions of the Disaster Management Zct,” says Aseneng.
Impala Mine management, through their legal representative, declined to comment.