Sibanye-Stillwater gets green light to vaccinate employees against Covid-19

Sibanye-Stillwater gets green light to vaccinate employees against Covid-19

Mining group Sibanye-Stillwater has received accreditation to administer Covid-19 vaccines. (Getty Images)

  • Sibanye-Stillwater has been accredited to administer Covid-19 vaccines at four of its facilities.
  • Sibanye has 44 clinics and healthcare facilities in its operations, where it can vaccinate up to 18 000 people per day.
  • As part of the initiative led by Business for South Africa, some 58 mining companies have applied to register as primary vaccination sites.

Mining firm Sibanye-Stillwater has been given the green light to administer Covid-19 vaccines at four of its medical facilities in the country, the company announced on Thursday.

The company, which is the world’s top platinum producer, said it will administer the vaccinations at operations at Marikana in the North West, Libanon and Driefontein in Gauteng, and Beatrix in the Free State.

For now, vaccinating in the workplace will be in line with the national plan meaning that currently, only people over the age of 60 and the remaining healthcare workers can get their jabs. The miner will also have to rely on the availability of vaccines.

A spokesperson said Sibanye hasn’t received a vaccine allocation yet, but is working closely with government to secure vaccines.

When it gets the necessary vaccine, it will start focusing on its workers, but hope to extend that to their families.

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As South Africa grapples with a devastating third wave of Covid-19 infections, Sibanye has also seen rising infections, the spokesperson said. But the infection and death rate among its workers are lower than national levels.

“We are pleased to have received accreditation of our medical facilities in three provinces, which will allow us to deliver on our commitment to assist our stakeholders and government in administering vaccines to employees, their families and doorstep communities,” said Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman.

James Wellsted, head of investor relations at Sibanye, earlier said the mine had 44 clinics and healthcare facilities in its operations, Fin24 reported.

“We estimate that we could vaccinate 18 000 people per day, so we could vaccinate our workforce of about 80 000 within a week. We also estimate that we could vaccinate a total of 250 000 people within a couple of weeks from our side alone. Currently, there is no approval yet, but we are engaging with government. We are busy training our staff to be sure they can do it.”

He estimated that it would cost about R200 million to get 250 000 people vaccinated by Sibanye.

Earlier this month, Fin24 reported that large companies were trying to get as many staff as possible vaccinated at their workplaces.

These include mines and major retailers.

As part of the initiative led by Business for South Africa (B4SA), some 58 mining companies have applied to register as primary vaccination sites, and a further 76 as secondary sites, the Minerals Council South Africa said on 1 June.

Employers run the primary sites themselves or they can outsource this to a provider who will run a mobile service in their premises. Secondary sites, on the other hand, link to nearby registered primary healthcare vaccination sites such as general practitioners, pharmacies, hospitals and travel clinics.

The Council said the mining industry wanted to vaccinate around 450 000 of its workforce. The mines that have applied to register as vaccination sites will cover about 433 000 employees.

The Shoprite Group is another of the companies that applied to register workplace sites. The group said it believes that it is critical for its employees to be vaccinated through its MediRite chain of pharmacies.

It said the company is working with the Department of Health and will be guided by the government’s rollout plans for workplace vaccination.

Retail pharmacy chain Clicks started Covid-19 vaccinations at 51 of its pharmacies on 20 May.

Additional reporting by Londiwe Buthelezi and Anathi Madubela

Local News