Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mining industry vaccinates over 200 000 workers, mandatory vaccination not on the cards for now

Making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for the mining industry workforce might not be necessary after the immunisation roll-out in the sector reached a milestone this week.

More than 203 000 mining employees and contractors have been fully or partially vaccinated as of Wednesday at 52 workplace vaccination sites and temporary facilities, Minerals Council South Africa chief executive Roger Baxter told a media briefing on Thursday.

He said the industry’s priority was to reach a target of getting 80% of its workforce vaccinated by November, and indications from the smooth roll-out were that the target was achievable through a partnership with provincial health departments, private companies and mining companies that have fewer than 4 000 employees.

“Our objective is to get industry level immunity by the end of November. We are not focused on mandatory vaccination currently but it could be considered in due course,” said Baxter.  “Lots of companies have achieved 80% with at least one jab given to workers so let’s allow that process to flow.”

He said getting at least 49% of the workforce vaccinated had been possible because labour unions had advocated for this among their members and supported company-based roll-out programmes.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said encouraging workers to get vaccinated was a no-brainer given the working environment for the sector.

“We told our members that they must go and vaccinate because they work in a crowded environment underground and even when they go underground, so it was important for the NUM to encourage members to vaccinate and we are happy that a lot of members did as requested,” said NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu.

Mammburu told The Mail and Guardian that although NUM’s leadership was working with mining companies to promote immunisation against Covid-19, it would not support making this mandatory.

“We don’t support compulsory vaccination as the NUM. Our members are vaccinating without being forced so we don’t think there’s a need to force our members to do the compulsory vaccination. For us it would be unacceptable, unconstitutional so our members are willingly getting vaccinated,” he said.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Marcia Zali
Marcia Zali is an award winning journalist

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Phoenix activist takes on Durban’s politically connected in November polls

Independent candidates look set to play a greater role in the metro municipality after 1 November

Libyan town clings to memory of Gaddafi, 10 years on

Rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte on 20 October 2011, months into the Nato-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule

Fishing subsidies in the W. Cape: ‘Illegal fishing is our...

Fishers claim they are forced into illegal trawling because subsidies only benefit big vessels

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…