Prevalence of Covid-19 in workplaces concerning – NUM

Union says mining, energy, construction and metal sectors are especially affected

NUM is deeply concerned and worried about the prevalence of Covid-19 in workplaces

29 May 2021

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply concerned and worried about the prevalence of Covid-19 infections at the workplaces especially in mining, energy, construction and metal sectors where the NUM organises. The NIUM is sending a clarion call in support of the speedily roll out to expedite the phase two vaccination programme 

1.1 The South African Stats as of 24 May 2021 shows the following:

Total number of cases: 1.64M 

+ 2383 – new cases

7 day average 3195

Total number of recovered:1.54M

+ 1 855

Total number of deaths : 55 874

+ 72

7-day average: 88

1.2 COVID 19 Vaccine Rollout Completed Figures as of 24th May 2021

Eastern Cape: 57 789

Free State: 24 186

Gauteng: 127 249

KwaZulu: Natal:92 729

Limpopo: 33 229

Mpumalanga: 20 380

North West: 23 106

Northern Cape: 9 344

Western Cape: 91 756

1.3 According to the Minerals Council of SA`s statistical data as at 24th May 2021 is as follows:

Total number of Mines: 385

Total number of Employees: 488. 854

Total screening: 407.436

Total tests: 144.649

Total positive cases: 35. 571

Active cases: 399

Deaths : 401

Recovered: 34.771

Vaccinations*: 946

1.4 Cases and deaths per commodity:

Platinum:13 709 (positive cases), 146 (deaths)

Gold: 6 748 (positive cases), 115 (deaths)

Coal: 7 830 (positive cases), 67 (deaths)

Other: 7 284 (positive cases), 73 (deaths).

1.5 Cases and deaths per Region is as follows:

North West: 10 966 (positive cases),120 (deaths).

Mpumalanga: 6 830 (positive cases), 67 (deaths).

Limpopo: 7 384 (positive cases), 61 (deaths).

Gauteng: 3 552 (positive cases), 68 (deaths).

Free State: 3 102 (positive cases) ,44 (deaths).

KZN: 305 (positive cases), 7 (deaths).

Western Cape: 49 (positive cases), 0 (deaths).

Eastern Cape : 0 (positive cases), 0 (deaths).

"It is against this backdrop as the Health and Safety leadership guided by the NEC, we have collected the above statistics to not raise awareness but to encourage those that have the interest to participate in the phase 2 vaccination programme to continue to do so and those that chose not to vehemently follow the safety measures as preventative measures," said Sipho Mungwe, NUM National Health and Safety Secretary.

As NUM we note the following:

Since the opening of the economic activities and the easing of the lockdown regulations to Level 1, the government has initiated phases of the vaccination programme

In response to the health hazard that posed a threat to the healthy workplaces and the lives of workers caused by the pandemic, the government allocated 10 Billion Rand for the purchase and the distribution of the vaccine in the period stipulated by the Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni.

In the same spirit, Sibanye Stillwater bought Covid 19 vaccines for its 80 000 workforces, the commitment of the company extends not only to the mining community but to the workers dependants as well and the NUM welcomes the public, private individual responsibility in response to the pandemic

To us, this is not only a progressive decision but a step in the right direction to reinforce individual responsibility between the private and public sector; however this decision must not have unintended consequences against the gains of bargaining powers and hard-fought worker’s rights.

The Department of Labour is in the process of finalizing a draft directive that demands workers be vaccinated or lose their jobs.

Having noted the above, as NUM we would like the following to be considered: 

We believe that the collective responsibility by the government and the individual role of the private sector in their conduct to combat and expedite the rollout of covid 19 will not undermine the rights of workers who chose and refused to consent to the vaccination process

The support of NUM to vaccination programme is not at the expense of workers’ rights. Every worker has the right to agree or refuse to be vaccinated, and there should be no legislation that compels workers to be vaccinated.

We vehemently support health care however we encourage standard procedures for those who chose not to consent.

The NUM supports the safely approved vaccination to the workers, the public and the global community.


Issued by Sipho Mungwe, NUM National Health and Safety Secretary, 29 May 2021