By Staff Reporter
A LOT of Covid-19 cases in mining sites are going unreported with many lives put at risk, a trade unionist has said.
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) general secretary Justice Chinhema told NewZimbabwe.com the group was concerned about the unfortunate development.
“Our workers union which is pro-miners since obtaining the essential services status to monitor and enforce Covid-19 regulations within mining sites has noted that there are more unreported Covid-19 cases in mines and the cases seem to be very high,” Chinhema said.
He said his union stumbled upon the startling revelations while touring mining districts across the country.
“We have been educating workers and communities about the Covd-19 second wave which is more deadly than the first wave and we are therefore encouraging workers to practise the required regulations.
“Of concern is the unreported Covid-19 cases which seem to be high and we believe there is a need to carry out massive tests.
“The situation is more serious in small scale mines where we visited. In places such as Esigodini, we realised that in terms of adherence to Covid-19 regulations, it seems not much has been done.
“It seems the small-scale miners have no regard for the law,” he said.
Chinhema said his union was also adding to national efforts to the Covid-19 fight.
“We are not only raising awareness in mining communities. We are also proactive as we are also in the process of making about 5 000 face masks that will be distributed across the country to families of workers.
“We are currently mobilising for resources from organisations that can help with sanitisers. Sanitisers are mostly not available in mining communities.
“We will be sending an SOS to our sister unions outside Zimbabwe like NUM in South Africa through industrial for help towards testing kits.
“We need to be able to carry out testing of workers or families in mining communities where we think cases are not reported,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chinhema has reiterated calls for a Covid-19 allowance within the sector.
“We will not flinch and back down in demanding and lobbying for Covid-19 allowances for mine workers.
“The allowances will go a long way in motivating mine workers. We are aware that employers want production while for workers safety is a need,” he said.