Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Effects of COVID 19 at the coal mines

24 July 2020
Vosman (Emalahleni)
Vusi Mabaso (VEM)

I interviewed the HR working at Glencore Colliery.
She is currently on self-isolation for 10 days due to COVID 19 case in the office block where she is working. When she left the mine for isolation there were 82 cases at GGV which is one of the Glencore mines. The total number of cases for all the mines under the Glencore Colliery were above 300.
She said ”in my opinion, I think the mining operation was the cause of the high number of cases in Emalahleni. If the mines could close as it has been done to schools there number of cases might decrease and recovery rate increases’.
I suggest that even if the mining could reduce the number of operations so that a manageable number of employees to minimize the cases.

I interviewed Mr Mkhuma from Vosman who resides next to the mines
I discovered that when there was level 5 lockdown there was no mining operations. Wth the ease of the lockdown restrictions where mining started to be operational. He is now affected more as the operation had caused dust and smoke which interferes negatively with his health.
‘This mining operation is killing me I have been to eye operation but now my eyes are having troubles again I wish I was having relatives in JHB so that I can visit for the whole month of August to run from the wind of August ‘ said Mkhuma with his face full of frustration

I co-incidentally bumped into a lost friend of mine who is working under Ingululu a heavy truck transporting coal from the mines to power stations and even to KwaZulu Natal .He was looking so frustrated and worried about the situation caused by this pandemic COVID 19.
He said ‘ my friend before this pandemic I was earning money in such a way that I even started building a house but all that has stopped as we have been retrenched at work ‘
‘I applied for the COVID 19 grant from SASSA and no answer till now’ said another driver as they were coming from toi toi at Ermelo.
This means not only those working under mines are in trouble of corona virus as gatherings continue with truck drivers who are fighting for their work back to them.