Saul wel­comes mining com­pany’s Covid-19 ini­tia­tives

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - News - PATSHY BEANGSTROM NEWS ED­I­TOR

NORTH­ERN Cape Pre­mier Dr Za­mani Saul has wel­comed the ini­tia­tives launched by An­glo Amer­i­can’s Kumba Iron Ore to sup­port its em­ploy­ees and host com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing the Covid-19 pan­demic, stat­ing that these “will go a long way”’ to help the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment con­tain the pan­demic.

Saul and mem­bers of the North­ern Cape pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment were among a del­e­ga­tion to visit Tsantsa­bane com­mu­ni­ties last week to dis­trib­ute food parcels to needy house­holds and get a first­hand view of some of the re­sponse plans be­ing put in place in part­ner­ship with Kumba.

The del­e­ga­tion in­cluded the MEC for So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Bar­bara Bartlett, the MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, the MEC for Roads and Public Works, Abraham Vosloo, the ex­ec­u­tive mayor of ZF Mg­cawu Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Gift van Staden, and the mayor of Tsantsa­bane Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Mpho Mashila. The pre­mier and his del­e­ga­tion were ac­com­pa­nied by Kumba CEO Themba Mkhwanazi and Vu­sani Malie, the CEO of the Sishen Iron Ore Com­pany-com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Trust.

“Kumba is part of an ecosys­tem, and we have adopted a holis­tic ap­proach in our re­sponse that en­sures healthy, safe em­ploy­ees and safe com­mu­ni­ties. Col­lab­o­rat­ing with the pre­mier and rel­e­vant pro­vin­cial de­part­ments will en­sure preven­tion, treat­ment and re­cov­ery, with in­creased ac­cess to health care ser­vices that are cru­cial in the fight against the Covid-19 pan­demic,” Mkhwanazi said.

Kumba’s com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives are part of the com­pany’s Com­mu­nity Re­sponse Plan (CRP), called We­care, to en­sure the health and well-be­ing of its em­ploy­ees and host com­mu­ni­ties. These ini­tia­tives in­clude the pro­vi­sion of water to some in­for­mal set­tle­ments around its mines and re­lief food parcels. In ad­di­tion, in­creas­ing ac­cess to health care through mak­ing the UGM Well­ness clinic in Kathu avail­able for screen­ing and test­ing for em­ploy­ees and the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties; and in­creas­ing screen­ing, test­ing, bed ca­pac­ity and over­flow tent struc­tures at Post­mas­burg Dis­trict Hospi­tal to deal with any Covid-19 cases.

Mkhwanazi added that work­ing with the De­part­ment of Health, the com­pany had also iden­ti­fied quar­an­tine and iso­la­tion fa­cil­i­ties that would serve the greater Tsantsa­bane and Ga­m­a­gara mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas. “Test­ing, quar­an­tine and iso­la­tion med­i­cal and other per­son­nel will also be al­lo­cated to the fa­cil­i­ties.”

While off Port El­iz­a­beth, the ves­sels re­quested per­mis­sion to shel­ter in Al­goa Bay from ad­verse weather con­di­tions. The re­quest was ap­proved by the South African Mar­itime Safety Author­ity. Af­ter de­part­ing Al­goa Bay, the ves­sels sailed up the coast and left South African waters late on April 19 and early on the morn­ing of April 20. There was no ev­i­dence of il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity while in South African waters, the de­part­ment said.

Mem­bers of the public are en­cour­aged to con­tact the en­vi­ron­men­tal crimes and in­ci­dents 24hour hot­line on 0800 205 005 to re­port any il­le­gal en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity along the coast­line, the de­part­ment said in the state­ment.

Crit­i­cal per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPE) such as sur­gi­cal masks, gloves, dis­pos­able gowns, ther­mome­ters and screen­ing have been dis­trib­uted to the Ku­ru­man and Post­mas­burg hos­pi­tals.

“Kumba ac­quired the first Poly­merase Chain Re­ac­tion (PCR) test­ing ma­chine which can be used re­motely to test and re­lease re­sults in 24 hours with­out go­ing to a lab­o­ra­tory. We plan to set up these lab­o­ra­to­ries to sup­port this PCR ma­chine,” said Mkhwanazi.

He added that the com­pany an­tic­i­pated ac­quir­ing rapid test kits by the end of April which will en­able test­ing with a much quicker turn­around time.

“Kumba also do­nated eight in­frared thermo scan­ners to Tsantsa­bane and John Taolo Gaet­sewe mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to as­sist the health care and the South African Po­lice Ser­vice with test­ing, thus en­abling quick mass screen­ing. Kumba is now work­ing with the De­part­ment of Health to train vol­un­teers as trac­ers and screen­ers as part of the mass screen­ing pro­gramme.”

The com­pany also or­dered med­i­cal equip­ment in­clud­ing ven­ti­la­tors, res­pi­ra­tors, blood gas masks and hospi­tal beds to pre­pare hos­pi­tals in the Prov­ince for ICU and high-care pa­tients. It will also avail emer­gency ser­vices and men­tal health care ser­vices to com­mu­ni­ties through FAMSA, LOVELIFE and TADS.

“Kumba is part of the Joint Op­er­a­tions Cen­tre (JOC) work­ing with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the Tsantsa­bane Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, lo­cal gov­ern­ment, lo­cal busi­nesses, the South African Po­lice Ser­vice, Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Fo­rums, the South African Na­tional De­fence Force as well as the pro­vin­cial Health De­part­ment dur­ing the Covid-19 lock­down to re­spond to com­mu­nity needs.”

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