South Africa-Mines-Retrenchments

S/Africa: Minister orders mining firms to withdraw dismissal letters

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

The South African government has ordered mining firms to withdraw dismissal letters served on mine workers on the pretext that the sector is experiencing a poor business atmosphere during the current lockdown, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

Mantashe said he had summoned four mining companies to his office and told them “that they can't use the lockdown period as an excuse to dismiss their workers.”

“I told them to go and withdraw all dismissal letters without exception. And they (mining firms) have withdrawn the notices today (Tuesday)," the minister said.

The mining industry is one of two sectors, alongside agriculture, which have been allowed to resume work under the Level 4 relaxation of the lockdown.

The easing led to 1.5 million workers returning to mines and farms last week as a first step to reopening the economy as the country continues to make efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

However, some of the workers were served with retrenchment letters on the ground that the mining industry had taken a serious knock from the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa’s confirmed Covid-19 cases stand at 16,433 from 475,071 tests conducted.

The death toll stands at 286 people since the pandemic broke out in the country in March this year.

NM/jn/APA

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