By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has called on government to close mines in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases in mining communities across the country.
ZDAMWU general secretary Justice Chinhema said government must move in to enforce a temporary shutdown of mines to allow testing of all workers.
“Statements from Bulawayo Mine, How Mine, Unki Mine, Hwange Colliery indicate that the mines have been hit by the wave,” Chinhema said.
How Mine is reported to have the highest number with 10 infections as of Sunday.
“In light with this, ZDAMWU is calling government to enforce a temporary shutdown of all mines to allow testing of all workers and everyone staying in compounds as well as carrying out proper disinfection against Covid-19 to safeguard workers and their families,” Chinhema said Sunday.
The veteran trade unionist insisted, “lives matter ahead of profits”.
The union, Chinhema said, is calling on all mines to start putting in place strict measures by proving adequate Personal Protective Equipment to their workers and families who stay within compounds as a matter of urgency, especially Chinese employers.
“It is sad to note that government allowed mines to operate against our advice without putting strict measures to protect their workers at the onset of the lockdown in April this year,” he added.
Chinhema further said the continued influx of imported cases especially from Botswana and South Africa has affected communities in the Southern parts of the country as returnees are reported to be crossing the borders using undesignated points.
“We are calling on government to move fast and curtail this crisis before it continues to spread in the mines which are closed communities,” he said.