Former mineworkers from across Lejweleputswa District and neighbouring towns in the Free State province are this month given a chance to claim for their Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits at their doorstep.
This is made possible by a month-long campaign for payment of benefits for former mineworkers spearheaded by the Department of Labour and the UIF.
Lejweleputswa District Municipality is the mining hub of the province and a large number of people from other parts of the Free State and the neighbouring Lesotho flood the municipal seeking jobs.
Thebe Matlhakwane (59) is a former mineworker from Meloding in Virginia who submitted his claim on the first day of the campaign.
He worked for a mining company in Lejweleputswa between 1986 and 1996. Matlhakwane said working in the mines was difficult especially since black people had limited opportunities because they lacked education.
“The environment was not that good for workers, but we were desperate. I did not enjoy the ten years that I worked there but I had to fend for my family,” he reminisced.
Matlhakwane said he has been struggling to claim for his UIF benefits because he stays far from the Department of Labour’s offices.
“I am happy that the department’s officials made time to visit our towns,” he said.
It took him about 20 minutes to complete his submission. Matlhakwane hopes that his claim will be successful as he is reaching retirement age at his current job and he has two children who are studying at university.
Provincial Department of Labour spokesperson Josial Ramokoena said UIF officials will be assisting claimants from 1 August until the end of the month in a number of towns in and around the district.
He said the plan is to ensure that the officials take applications from eligible claimants who are yet to claim their UIF benefits.
“The claims are for unemployment benefits which were not paid to the ex-mineworkers due to reasons beyond their control,” he explained.
“This special project is only earmarked for ex-mineworkers who left their employment prior April 2001,” he added.
He invited eligible claimants that include the ex-mineworkers and dependants to come in their numbers with all necessary documents in order for officials to verify the authenticity of the claims.
The documents that are needed include a stamped reference book (old identity document), employer cards or mine ID card (Makhuluskop), pay slips, old blue cards, record of service, Teba bank record or IRP5.
Claimants can visit the following venues to submit their claims:
- Virginia - Meloding Community Hall - from 1 to 3 August between 9am and 4pm
- Theunissen - Masilonyana Community Hall – from 6 to 8 August between 9am and 4pm
- Welkom - Thabong Indoor Sports Centre – from 13 to 16 August between 9am and 4pm
- Odendaalsrus - Kutlwanong Community Hall – from 20 to 24 August between 9am and 4pm
- Welkom - Thabong Indoor Sports Centre – from 27 to 31 August between 9am and 4pm
Ramokoena said the campaign has already assisted about 3 300 claimants in other parts of the province including Motheo and Xhariep Districts.