The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, has commended the vaccination of more than 120 000 mineworkers against COVID-19, which amounts to 20% of the workforce in the mining sector.
The committee was briefed by the Minerals Council South Africa (Mincosa) on statistics relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, management of the virus, and the vaccination process in the mining sector. The sector collectively employs 452 000 workers.
“The committee welcomed a commitment from Mincosa to reach a vaccination target of 80% by the end of September 2021. It also welcomed the Council’s commitment to make available its unused health centres as quarantine facilities,” Committee chairperson, Sahlulele Luzipo said.
While noting the challenges of vaccination apathy and misinformation, the committees encouraged Mincosa to accelerate the vaccination of mineworkers, in order to move to the second phase of vaccinating mining communities and the labour-sending towns.
The committee also called upon government to intensify communication about the importance of vaccination and address the myths around the so-called “vaccine passport”.
The committee was also briefed by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, iGas, PetroSA and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation on the challenges facing the mining and energy sector in South Africa, as well as the mitigating factors.
The committee welcomed the presentations and resolved to invite Transnet so that it can be briefed on the Durban-to-Johannesburg pipeline, which transports refined petroleum products, including gas, petrol, diesel, and jet fuel.