Mining Indaba 2021
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Covid-19Health & SafetyNewsSouthern Africa

Mineworkers Union of Namibia wants Namdeb alcohol testing stopped

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) has demanded that the daily alcohol testing of Namdeb employees before they start their shifts should be suspended immediately to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The union’s safety representative Thomas Nendongo in a statement on Monday said the call to suspend alcohol testing came after a Namdeb employee in the //Kharas region tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Sunday.

“One possible area where we think the virus can be transmitted from one person to another is the mine entry alcohol testing system,” Nendongo said.

He said the small cubicle without any ventilation where the alcohol testing system is placed, is a high-risk transmission area exposing about 1 500 employees to the coronavirus.

Nendongo said employees would exercise their rights as protected in the Labour Act if Namdeb failed to suspend the testing system from Tuesday and did not put in place other safety methods to detect if an employee is under the influence of alcohol.

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The unionist said if measures to contain the transmission of the novel coronavirus were ignored the virus would wipe out the whole community of Oranjemund since about 80% of its population are Namdeb employees.