Relief is on the way for mine workers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis while working for gold mines.
A trust, which will disburse funds for mine workers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis, is to be established in April 2019 according a statement issued by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the revitalisation of distressed mining communities.
This follows the historic class action settlement reached on 3 May between mining companies and claimants’ attorneys. This action involved mining companies African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater.
Also involved are current and former workers from the six mining companies from 12 March 1965 to 3 May 2018, who were certified as having contracted silicosis, as well as those who contracted certain severe forms of tuberculosis.
The settlement needs to be approved by the South Gauteng High Court, which could take several months.
Government will implement the required support to ensure ex-mineworkers receive their funds.
“The tracking and tracing of ex-mineworkers, who are to be compensated for having contracted lung diseases while working for gold mines, gives effect to the successful implementation of the out-of-court silicosis class action suit. The R5 billion out-of-court silicosis settlement will be presented to the court for acceptance,” said the IMC in connection with the settlement.
Four functioning One-Stop centres provide health services to mining communities and ensure that retirement benefits are easily accessible to ex-mineworkers.
In June, a new website www.SilicosisSettlement.co.za and a Facebook page www.facebook.com/silicosissettlement were launched to assist former mineworkers and their dependents who may be entitled to compensation.
The IMC, which is chaired by Minister in the Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, expressed concern about unclaimed social protection benefits for ex-mineworkers in the Southern African region.
To date, there is:
- R45 billion unclaimed for 4.2 million workers overall (pension/provident funds), R4 billion unclaimed by miners (pension/provident funds);
- R1.2 billion unclaimed compensation funds for miners and
- R1.6 billion unclaimed by former civil servants.
The IMC is mandated to achieve integrated and sustainable human settlements, improve the living and working conditions of mineworkers and health of mining communities, and advance the socio-economic development of mining towns.