Petra’s response to COVID-19
Our overriding priority at Petra is the health, safety and wellbeing of all our people. We are also committed to protecting the ongoing viability of our operations and the livelihoods of our employees, contractors and stakeholder beneficiaries.
The guidance and advice we are providing employees on COVID-19 follows World Health Organisation (“WHO”) guidelines and is supplemented by local guidance where we operate. We have established a COVID-19 Committee comprising of multi-disciplinary specialists within the Group to regularly review and update our advice to employees, establish business continuity planning, and to ensure managerial oversight is effective and properly coordinated.
Message from Richard Duffy, CEO of Petra Diamonds:
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
Vaccinating the mining workforce in South Africa is a priority for the Government’s vaccination roll-out programme. Petra is playing its part in encouraging all employees, contractors and other people visiting Petra operations to get vaccinated and in July 2021 the Company launched a multi-channel communications campaign to provide employees with information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
In an effort to assist the national vaccination rollout plan, Petra has partnered with the Department of Health in each province. At Cullinan and Finsch, temporary vaccination centres have been set up on site, whereas at Koffiefontein, a number of vaccination sites in the vicinity have been made available to the local community. Those working in Petra’s group management office in Johannesburg can be vaccinated through a partnership with Momentum in Sandton.
Petra has implemented comprehensive systems and strategies to address COVID-19 and is taking a number of steps to help prevent and/or contain the spread of virus at our operations in South Africa and Tanzania. These include:
By focusing on the education and training of all our employees and contractors, we support the COVID-19 information and communications drive by reaching members of our local communities through our people.
The Petra Hardship Fund (“PHF”), funded by salary sacrifices from Petra management and voluntary contributions by Petra employees over the period April to June 2020, was established to provide assistance to distressed host communities and qualifying employees for the period of May to July 2020. Contributions made by the PHF were distributed in partnership with the lead Government relief agencies for each of the affected communities.
Community support was provided through a number of interventions within the local communities surrounding the operations and included:
To address the critical issue of food security during this period, 5,290 food parcels were distributed to vulnerable community members through recognised community structures. Alongside the food parcels, blankets were also distributed to a number of communities to combat the cold winter conditions.
The Finsch health clinic remains open to community members and can see in the region of 50 people per day.
Where Petra has provided local small-to-medium-sized enterprises with funding by way of loans, the Company has allowed for a two-month payment and interest holiday, with the aim of supporting local businesses to withstand this difficult time. Once this payment holiday ended, the Company has provided relief to the local businesses by further reducing the interest on their low interest loans by an additional 2%.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccination is the best defence against serious infections. Vaccines have reduced the morbidity and mortality of infectious diseases such as smallpox, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, measles, tetanus, whooping cough and pneumococcal conjugate across the world. The various COVID-19 vaccines are considered an essential tool in helping to build ‘herd immunity’ in order to limit the spread of the virus worldwide, as well as to reduce the severity of the symptoms of those who do still go on to contract the disease.
Vaccinating the mining workforce in the country is a priority for the Government’s vaccination roll-out programme. Petra is playing its part in encouraging all employees, contractors and other people visiting Petra operations to get vaccinated. In an effort to assist the national vaccination rollout plan, Petra has partnered with the Department of Health in each province. At Cullinan and Finsch, temporary vaccination centres have been set up on site, whereas at Koffiefontein, a number of vaccination sites in the vicinity have been made available to the local community. Those working in Petra’s Group Management office in Johannesburg can be vaccinated through a partnership with Momentum in Sandton.
During July 2021, Petra launched a a survey across all the South African operations to canvass employees’ views around the COVID-19 vaccine, and establish their willingness to take the vaccine. This survey revealed that a large number of employees were not planning to take the vaccine, in most cases due to misinformation and false news, mostly placed on social media platforms by anti-vaccination campaigners.
In the interest of providing employees with the correct information to encourage them to take the vaccine, Petra has launched a multi-channel communication campaign to provide employees with reliable information, especially about the safety of the vaccine and its potential side-effects, which were the two issues most often raised as reasons for employees not wanting to be vaccinated. This information was placed on the digital display screens, distributed via email, posted on the employee-only Petra Diamonds Official Facebook Group, and posted on noticeboards. Mine specific vaccination campaigns are also planned for each South African operation to encourage employees to register for and take the vaccine.
The Minerals Council SA and the various labour unions are also helping to support mining companies by carrying out a major communication drive to educate on the importance of the vaccine in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the country and to encourage its uptake with the tagline #wechoosevaccination – read more at https://www.mineralscouncil.org.za/minerals-council-position-on-covid-19#wechoosevaccination.
As at 30 September 2021, Petra had vaccinated 1,668 employees to date (617 partially vaccinated and 1,051 fully vaccinated), representing 40% of our workforce in South Africa.
The Tanzanian President Samia Hassan launched the country’s vaccination campaign on 28 July 2021, with the following groups given first priority: health sector, people older than 50 years of age and people with chronic diseases.
Previously only Government hospitals were permitted to administer vaccinations to citizens. On 26 September 2021, the Government authorised the Mwadui Hospital to administer J&J vaccines to Williamson’s employees, contractors and the surrounding communities. On 27 September 2021, a total of 202 mine camp residents were vaccinated. Between 28 and 30 September 2021, a total of 36 Williamson employees had been vaccinated.
After vaccinating employees, the exercise will continue with door-to-door vaccinations in the mine camp. An awareness campaign will also be carried out amongst employees and mine camp residents to encourage them to get vaccinated.
People eighteen years and above can register and be vaccinated against Covid19 in South Africa. Please register on the South African Government’s Electronic Vaccination Database System (“EVDS”) via https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/, or send “register” to 0600123456 via WhatsApp, or dial *134*832* your ID number.
Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999
SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 / SMS Crime Line: 32211
GBV (Gender based violence) Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867# from any cell phone
Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150
Child line: 0800 055 555
GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/ email@example.com
Persons with disabilities, SMS ‘help’ to 31531
National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322
National Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 222 777
Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567
Life Healthcare, which renders certain medical services for our employees, has made available a COVID-19 Symptom Checker App to help people understand their personal risk profile. This app is aligned with the WHO and SA National Institute of Communicable Diseases (“NCID”).
Hello Doctor has made available a single USSD number: *120*394# that launches with a COVID-19 risk assessment tool, the outcome of which triggers a Doctor Callback if needed and a list of FAQ’s if not. A doctor will call high risk patients back on their mobile phone, resulting in either resolution or referral. This service, which is endorsed by the Department of Health and endorsed by the NICD, requires no airtime, works on any mobile phone, and is completely free to the end user. For more information call 087 2300 002, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.hellodoctor.co.za.
People eighteen years and above can register and be vaccinated against Covid19. Please register on the South African Government’s Electronic Vaccination Database System (“EVDS”) via https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/, or send “register” to 0600123456 via WhatsApp, or dial *134*832* your ID number.