Amcu lawyers liken COVID-19 to TB, saying it’s life-threatening

Thursday is day two of a virtual Labour Court sitting in which Amcu wants the mining department and minister to be compelled to make binding regulations that are coupled with potential jail time for mine bosses who do not comply.

FILE: This comes as mines have been allowed to reach 50% of production during the lockdown from Friday. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have likened COVID-19 to tuberculosis, arguing that it is highly transmissible and life threatening, especially for people with compromised lungs.

Thursday is day two of a virtual Labour Court sitting in which Amcu wants the mining department and minister to be compelled to make binding regulations that are coupled with potential jail time for mine bosses who do not comply.

This comes as mines have been allowed to reach 50% of production during the lockdown from Friday.

Amcu and the mining council have argued that miners are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus because of pre-existing illnesses like silicosis and tuberculosis.

The union and the department’s lawyers have been in talks since Wednesday to try reach an amicable agreement and some points have been agreed to.

But whether Section 9 of the Mine Health and Safety Act applies is still contentious.

Amcu’s lawyer Alan Dodson explained how COVID-19 applied to this piece of legislation.

“It is highly transmittable, and it is something that is a real threat to the people with compromised lungs.”

Both parties have agreed to a consent order, which refers to a document of interim measures to be taken when miners return to work.

But both parties have still argued on points such as costs and the Labour Court must make a ruling on this.

Judge Andre van Niekerk said he should have a judgement on the matter ready before Monday.