The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called on the sector’s leaders to agree on measures to ensure social distancing among workers.

This as the number of mineworkers, testing positive for the coronavirus, continues to rise daily.

There are now 679 confirmed COVID-19 cases at various mines countrywide.

However, the Minerals Council of South Africa says the mining industry is not the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

NUM President, Joseph Montisetse, says mine bosses need to consider the lives of workers.

“These are terrible times that need leaders to have a joint programme. We engaged management to have a programme to agree about the approach on what we have to do. Mining houses are arrogant and don’t want to understand that this isn’t only about production but about the lives of mineworkers.”

“We say labour and mine management must agree on the approach on how people should be tested, how people should [practice] social distance and we must involve health staff to help mineworkers.

In the video below, mineworkers call on mine bosses to enforce social distancing in mines across the country:

‘Mines are not epicentre of the coronavirus’

Minerals Council SA’s head of health, Thuthula Balfour,has rejected suggestions that mines in South Africa are COVID-19 epicentre.

Balfour says it mineworkers who have tested positive could have been infected with the virus from their communities.

The mining sector in the country has come under scrutiny for its response to the pandemic.

In the video below, mining sector denies that mines are COVID-19 epic centres:

Government publishes new safety guidelines for mines

Meanwhile, in May this year, government published new proposed safety guidelines for mines operating during the coronavirus lockdown period.

Mines are required that all mineworkers should be screened, tested, kept further apart and provided with protective gear.

In April, the authorities relaxed regulations to allow mines to operate at 50% capacity.

However, labour unions have since won a court case against the government, forcing it to impose stricter safety guidelines.