31 July 2020
Thekwane
Kennedy Pholose

There has been a rise of confirmed Covid 19 cases at Sibanye Operations around Rustenburg. According to one of the employees who chose to be anonymous, every week twice to three times employees are testing positive and number of close contacts is always high. Number of people who people who were on the first group to report has decreased drastically due to Covid 19. There are close contacts from working area, dressing rooms(change house) and was identified as a close contact as I was sharing same showers and dressing room with positive a person. We were stopped and interviewed by a doctor and social worker. Either you had to choose self-isolation without pay, according to the management most people who opted for self-isolation were regularly seen at the malls or other public places and that prompted them to stop payment due to their negligent behaviours. If quarantined at Sibanye facility they pay that 14 days. You report at the facility before 8pm, there is a security control room to report to, gain access through a controlled boom gates and health workers book and allocate rooms.

The quarantine facility is 3 double storey single rooms, a hall and a mess. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioner, bed, table and a chair and a microwave. For 14 days we followed a daily routine, at 6am we take a shower, breakfast at 7am, Medical check-up and medication (vitamin C and minerals tablets) thereafter and there is a bottle of water on every meal. Lunch was at 12pm and supper at 5pm then in between meals you are free to do whatever you wish to do. 8pm is medical check-up time. We are encouraged to drink hot water, and can add lemon, garlic and ginger 3 times a day. This circle will continue if there are no any complications for 14 days until doctor declare you fit to return to work. We heard that hospitals are full and some positive people were transferred to the quarantine facility. And that made me wonder if area will serve its purpose.

My question is why don’t the government, companies and other stake holders to proactively educate people on how to eat certain food, herbs and supplements to fight the virus at home rather than react by recommending self-isolation and quarantine. Most importantly government should inspect mines underground workplace regularly to check compliance and mines also should improve their work areas.