JOHANNESBURG - Two Eskom Eastern Cape Operating Unit employees have succumbed to Covid-19, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) said today.
Mzu Ntenteni, the Num’s Eastern Cape regional secretary blamed Eskom management for ignoring several warnings, demanding that all employees be allowed to work from home to avoid exposure to the deadly coronavirus.
“Their deaths could have been avoided if Eskom management did listen to us. We have now lost committed, selfless and dedicated members”, said Ntenteni.
Ntenteni said that employers should adopt infection control strategies based on a thorough hazard assessment, using appropriate combinations of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent worker exposures.
He charged that Eskom Eastern Cape Operating Unit allegedly overlooked the safety and the rights of members by forcing workers especially those with underlying health issues to return to work.
“The Eskom Eskom Eastern Cape Operating Unit management prioritised production and business targets at the expense of workers. They should have provided proper PPE and adhere to Covid-19 regulations; by ensuring disinfection of worksites. As the Num we are very saddened that at the end, workers had to pay with their lives,” said Ntenteni.
Last month the Num called for the temporary shut down of mines in Limpopo after 30 Covid-19 cases were confirmed at the Dwarsrivier chrome mine in Burgersfort.
The Num, one of the biggest mining unions, said it wanted the law enforcement agencies to arrest mine manager's who were deliberately ignoring Covid-19 regulations as Covid-19 cases spiked in Limpopo.