Exxaro has responded to the concern raised by Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba at the rising number of Covid-19 cases at the Grootegeluk Complex (GGC) mine, in Lephalale, in the Limpopo Province.
Mzila Mthenjane, Exxaro’s executive head for Stakeholder Affairs, said, “The health and safety of our employees takes priority, which is why we have remained proactive in ensuring that we continue to operate according to Covid-19 testing protocols which we initiated when the country was at Alert Level 5 last year. Even as the country moved to the lower alert levels, we never let up on our Covid-19 prevention and testing measures.
“At the current moment, we can confirm that we have 88 active cases at GGC as of 27 November 2021 – 34 of whom are fully vaccinated and 54 not vaccinated. Despite the sudden surge in numbers, there’s yet no hospitalisation case to date. We were able to pick up these cases due to our Covid-19 monitoring and surveillance protocols, whereby across all our operations, we proactively and daily test all employees who have been off site for more than 5 days, those who are displaying symptoms and initiate random testing for those who work in high traffic areas at the operations,”
Exxaro has confirmed that none of the 88 active cases are displaying severe Covid-19 illness or symptoms and that 33 are not showing any symptoms. All 88 are in isolation as per the protocols.
Mthenjane added, “We initially vaccinated only on Thursdays. However, we managed to secure a second vaccination day which will be on Tuesdays commencing this coming week. This will aid in increasing the number of employees and community members to get vaccinated in and around the Lephalale community. We are working collaboratively with the Limpopo Provincial Department of Health to ensure adequate resources and facilities are provided to ramp up the vaccination drive.”
The company has highlighted that its GGC mine has fully vaccinated 76% of its 6 417 employees. The company has also vaccinated more than 2 300 community members and continues to offer free testing services to the community as an extension to all employees’ next of kin.
Mthenjane concluded that all employees who test as active cases are carefully managed through the company’s 24-hour Covid-19 Call Centre, where employees are checked in on three times a day to ensure that none of them are experiencing any distress. He says that employees are also furnished with oximeters and medication, including essential vitamins.
A total of 68.91% of Exxaro’s employee and contractor workforce across the business has been vaccinated. The company is working on reaching herd immunity of 80% ahead of the festive season.