Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe is expected to meet with Limpopo Premier, Stan Mathabatha and management of the Marula Platinum Mine in Bela Bela Sunday afternoon.

The meeting comes after 19 mineworkers at the Marula Platinum Mine have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba said on Saturday that 13 of those who tested positive are part of 130 employees who were tested when they returned to the mine this week.

She says the number includes health professionals as well as underground workers.

In the video below, the Marula Platinum Mine comes under the spotlight:

 

Ramathuba further said they expect more positive cases from the Marula mine as the test results of other mine workers haven’t been received yet.

“Thirteen mineworkers at Marula Platinum Mine have tested positive for COVID-19. This is by far the single biggest number of positive within 24 hours that we have received from one establishment. We must still expect more because we have not received the full results of the 130,” says Ramathuba.

Limpopo Health MEC briefed the media on Saturday:

Operations have been temporarily suspended, as officials expect more cases. There are currently 26 coronavirus cases in the mining-rich Sekhukhune District.

The Sekhukhune District Municipality has called on people residing close to mines to take extra precautions to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The district accounts for 26 of Limpopo’s 80 COVID-19 cases. Of these, 24 are active cases, including mineworkers or those who have had contact with them.

Sekhukhune Municipal Spokesperson Moloko Moloto says Executive Mayor Stanley Ramaila is worried that the district is becoming the epicentre of COVID-19 in Limpopo.

“Executive Mayor Stanley Ramaila is extremely worried that the district is quickly becoming the epicentre in the province. Evidently, mines are the breeding ground for the coronavirus because all these active infections were recorded in the eastern limb of the bushveld complex. He is, therefore, pleading with communities in mines to be extremely vigilant, but at the same time, he is calling on the mines to increase their health and safety protocols.”

In April, South African mining companies said they were setting up shared quarantine facilities for miners testing positive for COVID-19. They were also discussing other ways to cooperate, as the vital national industry gradually restarts operations halted since late March.