A sense of pride in this time of great uncertainty

I am writing this month’s editor’s note from the quiet of my home – on the eve of South Africa’s nationwide lockdown as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to escalate.

At the time of writing this South Africa had reported 709 cases. I wonder what that number will be by the time you read this. In fact, I wonder what South Africa and the world’s pandemic status will be when our 21-day lockdown is over (there are many regions all over the world already in lockdown or are preparing for it). So much is changing on a daily basis that no one knows what to expect.

I only hope that we have all managed to stay safe, healthy and relatively sane staying within the confines of our home walls.

What I am feeling right at this moment is a great sense of pride (and a small degree of anxiety for the unknown that lies ahead) at how phenomenally well the mining industry has responded to dealing with COVID-19. Our editorial team has been inundated with news from the majority of the sector – both in South Africa and the rest of Africa – providing comprehensive detail on the steps, measures and plans being taken to mitigate and control on-site environments to prevent or reduce the possibility of infection. #soproudofmining

South Africa in particular has a greater challenge ahead as the lockdown requires that all non-essential operations (basically everything except our coal mines) move onto care and maintenance during the shutdown. The impact this will have on our economy, our mines and all the contractors who work for them is immeasurable.

Nonetheless, no one disagrees that this is the necessary action required to protect our nation from far worse effects in the long-run. #wewillrecover

In fact, this sentiment extends beyond our sector and I’ve seen South Africans come together to support each other, ironic considering we must do it apart. The show of admiration and respect for our President’s decision to embark on a lengthy lockdown is testimony to the support we have as a country and our commitment to do what is necessary to protect ourselves and each other.

I wish all our readers and their families strength and peace as we move forward through this very difficult time, one we have never experienced before. Not only do I truly hope that we come out of this a stronger community, but that we are reminded that we only have one planet (which is now recovering from the effects of pollution, etc.) and one chance to make a positive difference for our future generations. #ourplanetwillheal #thetimeisnow