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Amcu calls for universal testing for COVID-19 at all SA mines

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said that the only way to ensure the safety of mineworkers and the industry’s sustainability was through testing all workers.

FILE: Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has proposed that COVID-19 testing take place at all South African mines following the outbreak of infections at the Marula Platinum Mine.

Nineteen mineworkers tested positive for the virus at the Impala Platinum-owned mine in Driekop, outside Burgersfort in Limpopo.

That brought the number of disclosed industry infections to 32, including one death.

The mining industry has been allowed to scale-up operations since the beginning of May, but with infections recorded at various plants, mining unions were searching for solutions.

Amcu said that while some mining bosses consistently screened workers for symptoms associated with the virus, this was not helpful.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said that the only way to ensure the safety of mineworkers and the industry’s sustainability was through testing all workers.

"We have consistently called for proper testing before mineworkers go underground. Screening is not sufficient as it fails to detect those workers who don’t display the known symptoms like high temperature,” Mathunjwa said in a statement.

He added that if this was not done, the sector would face a crisis of epic proportions.

"The only way to ensure the safety of mineworkers, as well as the sustainability of the industry, is to upscale to universal testing. All mineworkers must be tested, and this must happen as soon as possible. If we fail to do this, we will face a crisis of epic proportions," Mathunjwa said.

Amcu further cautioned employers, saying that it would be pointless to open mines only to be forced to shut down due to infections.

The Marula Platinum Mine was temporarily closed after the confirmation of the cases.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.