Just over 1000 former mineworkers have been paid a total of R18, 2 million this month as compensation for occupational lung diseases.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) said that 1 203 payments had been made, the most in a month since the department began tracking and tracing ex-mineworkers.
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has welcomed the payments on social media saying “We have to take care of our former miners.”
The department said that about 1766 claimants had been paid a total of R79 million from April 2015 to March 2016. The bulk of payments had gone to ex-mineworkers from labour-sending areas within South Africa.
“From April 2017 to March 2018, some 10 409 claimants were paid R254 million, representing an increase of about 500 percent in claimants paid and 200 percent increase in monies paid.
Five years ago an average of 2 000 claimants were paid. About R110 million went to 4 912 claimants in neighbouring countries,” the department said.
The payment is linked to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Special Presidential Package for the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities and Labour-Sending Areas established in 2012.
This committee which is chaired by the Minister in the Presidency includes the Department of Health, Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Labour.
These departments are working towards aligning the mining industry’s occupational health and safety policies and legislation to ensure that ex-mineworkers can access benefits and compensation.
Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant, has carried out outreach and awareness campaigns to track and trace ex-mineworkers. During these campaigns, ex-mineworkers were educated on how to apply for compensation rightfully due to them.
Claimants or their beneficiaries can check the status of their claims or if they need medical assessment by calling 080 1000 240, the department said.
"Medical assessments are provided in decentralised One-Stop Service Centres such as those in provincial hospitals in Mthatha (Eastern Cape), Carletonville (Gauteng), Burgersfort (near Limpopo and Mpumalanga) and Kuruman (Northern Cape), and in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.”
Mobile clinics have also been successful in helping mineworkers in certain districts in South Africa and neighbouring countries.
“Fifteen medical doctors have been seconded by the mining companies for the Certification Committees at the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases.
A web-based link to the Department of Health is available – www.health.gov.za/ccod provides information on accessing medical services and claims,” the department said in a statement.
How to claim compensation or access medical services
If you are an ex-mineworker, you can check the status of your claim on 080 1000 240.
For more information on accessing services and claims, visit www.health.gov.za/ccod