Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, says mining operations will be scaled down significantly during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.
Mantashe was speaking in Pretoria during an inter-ministerial briefing on government’s measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
The number of confirmed cases of the virus currently stands at 709 with no deaths.
Mantashe says mines that supply coal to Eskom will remain open, but production levels will be reduced.
“Mining operation will be scaled down significantly. Mines supplying coal to Eskom will remain in operation albeit at reduced production levels. Services being rendered to communities such as the supply of water will continue. Production in coal, chrome, manganese and other sectors will be scaled down, while processing of surface material in PGM sectors will continue for production of among other medical products.”
#COVID19 | INTER-MINISTERIAL BRIEFING: Remarks by Mineral Resources & Energy Minister @GwedeMantashe1 unpacking mineral and energy industries’ response in preparation for a nationwide lockdown #CoronaVirusSA pic.twitter.com/gFkWcZttl0
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) March 25, 2020
52 sites identified for quarantine purposes
Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia De Lille says her department has so far identified 52 sites where over 16 000 beds can be accommodated for quarantine purposes. She says these sites are located in all the 44 districts and metropolitan areas.
She was addressing a media briefing in Parliament.
De Lille added that her department has also made available thousands of Expanded Public Works Programme workers to be used by the Department of Health.
She added that the private sector has also come forward and offered properties as quarantine sites.
Minister De Lille has also indicated that her department will pay the wages of the 800 000 Expanded Public Works Programme employees on its books for the three weeks of lockdown.
“Once the Health Department has checked out all of the sites; it is hotels, it is hospitals, resorts that they have offered. We will come back to them and the second point is that the Department of Health has requested 20 400 EPWP workers to assist them with advocacy to curb the COVID-19 virus. We’ve made the 20 400 available to the Department of Health. They will now be trained by the Department of Health.”