In the ongoing battle against Covid-19, Kumba Iron Ore Limited, a member of the Anglo American plc group, backed by the Northern Cape government and partner unions, has intensified its vaccination programme at Sishen and Kolomela mines.

The company has recently run two vaccine days focused on driving vaccine take up and addressing vaccine hesitancy. Furthermore, the company is also assisting the Northern Cape government to make vaccines accessible in the province’s rural areas.

Kumba is operating its government-licensed vaccination programme at Sishen and Kolomela mine clinics. Starting in July 2021, their first port of call has been to service direct employees and their dependents, following with a drive to assist extended families and the wider community when able to.

The company is being well supported with employee mobilisation and education by the four unions represented at its operations – the Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity, and the United Association of South Africa (UASA).

Themba Mkhwanazi, CEO of Kumba Iron Ore says, “We do not underestimate the huge, concerted effort it will take for our workforce to feel confident and willing to get vaccinated, and the support we are receiving from government, organised labour and our communities is crucial.”

Nandi Sibanyoni, Executive Head for Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at KIO. Photo credit: Kumba Iron Ore

Nandi Sibanyoni, Executive Head for Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at KIO. Photo credit: Kumba Iron Ore

Kumba has contributed R15 million to support a government-led programme specifically targeted at the rural areas enabling:

  • The purchase of four well-equipped ambulances suited to rough roads in the Tsantsabane and John Taolo Gaetsewe regions.
  • The establishment of outreach teams – vaccinators, administrators, marshals, and screeners –to focus on vaccine take-up drives, specifically in the Joe Morolong district.

“With R100 million invested to support our people and host communities through the second year of the pandemic, our focus is now on ramping up vaccine take-up amongst our workforce and supporting government’s efforts to do the same. We have an opportunity to save lives and are committed to achieving this,” says Mkhwanazi.

Maruping Lekwene, MEC of Health in the Northern Cape province, concludes: “We are committed to ensuring that we get vaccines to all our people. As South Africa’s largest and most vast province, we have first-hand experience of how challenging it is to reach people in remote and rural areas. Kumba’s contribution and partnership will enable us to bring vaccines closer to the people at a crucial time of our country’s vaccination programme.”