Implats executive to appear in court on charges of breaching lockdown rules
JOHANNESBURG - Platinum producer Implats said one of its executives would appear in court on Friday on charges of contravening lockdown regulations aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa.
"Implats can confirm that its employee, Impala Rustenburg CEO Mark Munroe, is appearing in the Bafokeng Magistrate Court today ... charged with contravening the lockdown regulations," the company said via email in response to a query from African News Agency.
"Implats respects the legal process and awaits the outcome of the courts."
On Tuesday, labour union National Union of Mineworkers said it had reported Implats to the department of mineral resources and energy over its attempts to resume operations without consultation.
In a separate statement earlier on Friday, Implats said its South African operations would advance measures to manage a gradual return to work, taking necessary measures to protect employees, after the government announced an easing of lockdown regulations on Thursday.
The goverment said it would start relaxing, in an orderly and incremental manner, the lockdown put in place from March 27 which was initially set for a 21-day period to April 16 but was extended by another two weeks to the end of the month.
The lockdown, which included the closure of South Africa's borders for human traffic, has brought the bulk of economic activity to a halt, with only essential services allowed to operate as the government strives to limit the spread of the coronavirus now affecting large chunks of the world after first emerging in China last December.
In its initial statement, Implats said all its South African operations, including Impala Rustenburg mining, processing and refining and Marula mining and concentrating, had been successfully ramped down and placed on care and maintenance from the start of the lockdown.
It said it had continued with limited operating activities at its critical smelting and refining infrastructure and performed care and maintenance on underground operations, allowing it to secure its furnaces by treating some in-process inventory.
"In terms of an amendment to the regulations and these directives, announced on (Thursday), mining operations may now conduct activities at a reduced capacity of not more than 50 percent during the extended lockdown period, subject to the implementation of specified precautionary measures aimed at protecting employees and limiting the spread of the virus," it said.
"The South African operations will advance measures to responsibly manage a gradual return to work from Friday, 17 April 2020, taking the precautionary measures necessary to protect employees."
- African News Agency (ANA)