Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Kamwendo: All the executives of South Africa’s biggest platinum mining company are contributing a third of their pay to the fight against Covid-19.
Creamer: Yes, so that is the board of directors, the senior executives of Sibanye-Stillwater, every single one of them has unanimously agreed to pay over a third of their salaries for the next three months. Of course, they are taking the lead from President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza. All the members of the Cabinet and Deputy Ministers, who are doing the same thing. This shows a tremendous spirit of humanitarianism and generosity at this time.
Although this was announced by Sibanye-Stillwater on Monday, this morning a second platinum company has announced that they will be doing something even bigger perhaps, because Impala Platinum said this morning that all their board of directors, all their executive managers will be giving over a third of their pay for three months, but that a mechanism was also being created for everyone in the company, all employees, to give up to a third of their pay over three month to counteract Covid-19’s impact. So, in other words 40 000 employees will also be contributing towards this Solidarity Fund under Gloria Serobe.
They see this as a transparent fund, they see it as a fund that they have got full confidence in. What Impala Platinum said this morning is that they will decide how much of the Implats donations go to the Solidarity Fund and how much go to host communities. But, all the money will be collected for the next three months and move towards that, to combat Covid-19.
Kamwendo: The Minerals Council has given full support the government’s latest Covid-19 regulations for mines.
Creamer: It’s amazing. The cooperation at the moment is huge. It’s not just the letter law that is being obeyed, it is the spirit as well. The private sector and the public sector are talking together and they are working together and they are arranging for people coming back from far distant minesto be transported.
As is customary in these mines, when you come back to work, a medical check-up always ensues. They do have the infrastructure to do that and so their screening ability is pretty good and very well established. They will screen, test and hospitalise where necessary. They have all those facilities, so there is no better space really then to do this around mining.
We see that the Minerals Council quickly responded to Minerals Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe yesterday once the new regulations came in and the amendments that said that mines could start operating up to 50% across the board. The Minerals Council responded immediately and said they welcomed all this and that they would work hand-in-glove with government and make sure that the Covid-19 is pushed aside and every bit of infrastructure they have at their disposal would be deployed to fight Covid-19.
Kamwendo: Mining company Glencore is helping Eskom to supply electricity to 300 households in Limpopo.
Creamer: We had this situation in Limpopo at Ga-Masha and Ga-Rantho. The communities there were very upset about their municipality being unable to provide them with electricity. They were protesting quite strenuously and they were actually damaging some road infrastructure in the area. It is great that a massive mining company like Glencore can perceive the need for these people to have electricity and to come forward and say to the municipality that they realise that they are unable to do it at the moment, but what Glencore would like to do is work with Eskom on their behalf.
They have done 300 households there, which didn’t have electricity before, now have electricity at this important time. We see that this is the way Glencore works. They use this big community fund that they just established to allow decentralised activities. They don’t command from the top, they see what people want at the bottom and then they provide that.
This is happening around the world. We see also in Australia that Glcncore has initiated a big graduate programme in Australia. In different places they are doing different things, but it is all a part of generosity that has emerged when we are under strain from Covid-19.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly and he’ll be back with us at the Coalface at the same time next Friday.