- August 22, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Worker’s Union (ZDAWU) said Chinese owned mining operations are exposing their workers to Covid-19 because they do not respect or observe the law despite the fact that corona cases are rapidly rising in Zimbabwe.
Through a statement issued by the Union’s General Secretary, ZDAWU Justice Chinhema said Chinese owned mining operations are failing to provide adequate basic PPEs to their workers.
“Chinese owned mining operations do not observe or respect the law. They don’t provide adequate basic PPEs to their workers, no proper ablution facilities and safe water, poor accommodation and staying arrangements, and workers are provided with poor quality face masks made of foil paper” the Union said.
According to the Union, the mines have not done any compulsory COVID-19 testing conflicting the provisions of the law which stipulates that all employees shall undergo testing for COVID-19.
“Most mines have not done any compulsory Covid-19 tests and are relying on temperature checks contrary to the provisions of the law which stipulates that employees shall undergo compulsory Covid-19 testing,” Chinhema said.
ZDAWU also said that small scale and artisanal mining operations are poising a very serious threat to the mining community in as far as the transmission of COVID-19 is concerned as there is no control of the movement of people, no records keeping of visitors, no PPE among other important provisions.
“Small scale mining operations and artisanal mining are a serious risk to communities and the country at large. There is no control on the movement of people from one area to another, one mine to another, no record keeping of any visitors, clients or customers, no provision of PPE, safe water, ablution facilities, no social distancing at all and they stay in crowded makeshift accommodation.” Said ZDAWU.
Due to the limited presence of the law enforcement agents in the areas operated by small scale miners, people tend to carry out unregulated business and activities for example vendors who sell groceries and other wares leading to overcrowding in these areas. These activities are common and rampant in Matebeleland South Province making this province an epicentre of the virus in the Mining Industry. The most affected areas in the mining sector are Filabusi, Silobela, Shurugwi, Mutoko, and Kadoma.
According to ZDAWU, most large scale mining companies have tried their best to put conditions and measures that protect workers from contracting Covid-19 at the workplace but did not put measures and conditions that protect workers from cross transmitting the virus from families and neighbours whom they stay within the compounds.
As the country continues to experience infections and deaths from Covid-19 the mining sector is slowly recording cases of positive infections of COVID -19.
INFECTION STATICS IN MINES TO DATE
|How Mine||30||Mat South|
As can be seen in the table above, How Mine in Matabeleland South Province has more cases of infection at the time of the production of this report.
However, the seemingly low cases recorded across the mining industry is not a reflection that the pandemic has not affected this sector but rather a result of lack of massive testing of workers by employers as employees were only subjected to temperature test which seems to be common but ineffective.