Mineworkers in the platinum belt are defaulting on antiretroviral treatment (ART) due to acts of violence and intimidation, North West Premier Thandi Modise said on Monday.
"We appeal to workers on strike to be mindful that their colleagues on chronic medication for HIV/Aids, TB [tuberculosis], hypertension, and diabetes need to access wellness care facilities for chronic medication that is life sustaining," she said in a statement.
She expressed concern at reports that miners on chronic medication in the platinum belt were defaulting due to violence and intimidation that stopped them from accessing health services at their workplaces.
"Preventing them from accessing health facilities at their workplaces is putting their health at great risk."
Modise has urged workers to visit their nearest public health facilities to access their chronic medication, family planning support, prenatal care, free TB and HIV testing and counselling.
Vicious cycle of violenceShe said ending the strike, which has now entered its 17th week, would be the first step to avert possible job losses and restoring peace and stability.
She said the protracted strike by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had degenerated into a vicious cycle of violence that had resulted in the brutal killing of non-striking workers and destruction of private and public property.
Amcu members at Impala Platinum, Lonmin, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.
They have rejected the companies' offer that would see a minimum cash remuneration of R12 500 by July 2017.
The cash remuneration includes living-out and holiday leave allowances, but excludes medical and retirement benefits, and any bonuses.
The strike has cost employers about R18.6-billion in revenue and employees have lost about R8.2-billion in earnings according to a website created by platinum mining companies, www.platinumwagenegotiations.co.za. – Sapa
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