Govt. withdraws criminal charges against Implats relating to Covid-19 lockdown rules

THE South African government has withdrawn charges lodged against Impala Platinum (Implats) on April 17 for alleged contraventions of the National Disaster Management Act, the company said today.

Implats CEO, Nico Muller, recognised the efforts of Mark Munroe, head CEO of Implats’ Rustenburg operations as well as Dr Jon Andrews who is group executive for health, safety and environment at the company, saying focus was on “challenging” months ahead.

“Implats’ view is that despite recent improvements in the coronavirus infection rate, the near-term operating environment will remain challenging and will require continued focus and vigilance in order mitigate ongoing risks posed by the coronavirus,” he said.

Munroe had appeared in the Bafokeng Magistrates Court in a representative capacity on behalf of Implats after allegations the company had contravened lockdown regulations of that time because non-essential staff had been recalled for work.

“All criminal charges in the matter against Impala as represented by Mark Munroe have been withdrawn,” said Implats.

The government was criticised at the time for its heavy-handed approach to implementing hard lockdown measures which saw some mining operations grind to a halt whilst others – such as coal mines and metal processing facilities were allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

In a demonstration of ‘moving on’ from the event, Implats said it supported government’s efforts at controlling Covid-19.

“The critical and supportive role of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in this regard is greatly appreciated and remains invaluable in prioritising lives and livelihoods,” the group said of “… preserving the livelihoods of our employees, contractors and host communities”.

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