Parliament, Friday, 1 May 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, together with the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy, Ms Tebogo Modise, called on organised labour to use Workers’ Day to reflect on the health and safety conditions of workers amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most workers in the mining sector will resume work, as the country now moved into level 4 lockdown.
The two Chairpersons urged organised labour to become vigilant in ensuring that employers adhere to the stipulated percentage of workforce that can report back to work, especially in the non-essential service mining sector.
They said: “The need for close cooperation amongst social partners, especially employers and labour at working level, has become pertinent now, more than ever, as the country is plagued by a pandemic that is devastating to human lives and the economy. Organised labour should guard against situations where workers are forced to work under conditions that could expose them to the risk of contracting coronavirus.”
The Chairpersons further called on the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to increase the numbers of mine health and safety inspectors and ensure that they are trained in monitoring maximum compliance with the coronavirus preventative measures, as outlined by the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation.
On those mines that are contemplating to retrench workers as a mitigating measure to the impact of Covid-19, Mr Luzipo and Ms Modise appealed to them not to use Covid-19 as a means to justify downsising and cutting corners on operational responsibilities.
The Chairpersons believe that retrenchments should be a last resort, following all avenues of finding other alternatives, including talks with the DMRE, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, MR SAHLULELE LUZIPO, AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON LAND REFORM, ENVIRONMENT, MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, MS TEBOGO MODISE
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