The TEBA network will be instrumental in returning mines to function

TEBA, the century-old company that provides recruitment and other services to mineworkers, will draw on decades of experience to assist SA’s mining companies to gradually ramp up production as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The gold and platinum sectors are working with TEBA to return 350,000 miners to the gold and platinum industry as the sector slowly returns to work in phases beginning at half of capacity until lockdown expires at the end of April.

Ahead of the March 27 start of the lockdown, more mineworkers returned home than first thought, said TEBA MD Graham Herbert. “When the countdown to the lockdown began, a far larger number of mineworkers went home than many assumed.

We initially thought money would be a constraint and that a lot of mineworkers [would] stay around mines to ensure jobs,” he said in an interview.

However, after looking at data from its regional offices and assessing money flows from the mines to those offices, particularly in rural areas, those assumptions changed. “We are confident half or three-quarters of mineworkers went home.

That’s why we have to think so carefully about how to re-engage mineworkers in a safe way,” Herbert said.

On April 16, when he unveiled amendments to the lockdown regulations pertaining to the minerals and energy sectors, mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe said that mining companies had the responsibility to arrange transport for employees returning to work.

The return to work would follow a phased approach until mines are back at normal capacity towards the end of May, he said.