NC Premier commends Kumba Iron Ore’s COVID19 Community Plans
The Northern Cape Premier, Dr Zamani Saul, is impressed with the initiatives launched by the Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore Mine to support its employees and the communities surrounding the mine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Saul believes the mines support will go a long way in helping the Provincial Government contain the pandemic.
Dr Saul and members of the Northern Cape Provincial Government were among a delegation to visit Tsantsabane communities last week to distribute food parcels to needy households and get a first-hand view of some of the response plans being put in place in partnership with Kumba. The delegation included the MEC for Social Development – Barbara Bartlett, MEC for Health – Mase Manopole, MEC for Roads and Public Works – Abraham Vosloo, Executive Mayor of ZF Mgcawu Municipality – Gift van Staden, & Mayor of Tsantsabane Municipality – Mpho Mashila. The Premier and his delegation were accompanied by Kumba CEO, Themba Mkhwanazi, and Vusani Malie, the CEO of the Sishen Iron Ore Company-Community Development Trust.
“Kumba is part of an ecosystem, and we have adopted a holistic approach in our response that ensures healthy, safe employees and safe communities. Collaborating with the Premier and relevant Provincial Departments will ensure prevention, treatment and recovery, with increased access to healthcare services that are crucial in the fight against the pandemic,” said Themba Mkhwanazi, Kumba CEO.
Kumba’s community initiatives are part of their Community Response Plan (CRP), called WeCare, which ensures the health and wellbeing of its employees and host communities. These initiatives include the provision of water to some informal settlements around their mines and relief food parcels. In addition, increasing access to healthcare through making the UGM Wellness clinic in Kathu available for screening and testing for employees and the surrounding communities, increasing screening, testing, bed capacity and overflow tent structures at Postmasburg District Hospital to deal with any COVID-19 cases. Working with the Department of Health, the company has also identified quarantine and isolation facilities that will serve the greater Tsantsabane and Gamagara municipal areas. Testing, quarantine and isolation medical and other personnel will also be allocated to the facilities.
Critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, gloves, disposable gowns, & thermometers, have been distributed to the Kuruman and Postmasburg Hospitals. Kumba acquired the first Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing machine which can be used remotely to test and release results in 24 hours without going to a laboratory. Kumba plan to set up these laboratories to support this PCR machine. The company anticipates acquiring rapid test kits by the end of April which will enable testing with a much quicker turnaround time.
Kumba has also donated eight Infrared Thermo Scanners to Tsantsabane and John Taolo Gaetsewe Municipalities to assist the Health Care and South African Police Service with testing thus enabling quick mass screening. Kumba is now working with the Department of Health to train volunteers as tracers and screeners as part of the mass screening programme.
The company has ordered medical equipment including ventilators, respirators, blood gas masks, & hospital beds to prepare hospitals in the province for ICU and High Care patients. The company will also avail emergency services and mental health care services to communities through FAMSA, LOVELIFE and TADS.
Kumba is part of the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) working with various stakeholders including the Local Tsantsabane Municipality, Local Government, Local Businesses, the South African Police Services, Community Policing Forums, the South African National Defence Force as well as the Provincial Health Department during the COVID-19 lock down to respond to community needs.