Former mineworkers from across Lejweleputswa District and neighbouring towns in the Free State are given a chance this month to claim for their Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits at their doorstep.
This is made possible by a month-long campaign for the payment of benefits to 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 neighbouring Lesotho flood the municipality in search of 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.
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. The 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 to April 2001,” he added.
The documents that are recieved 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:
• 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.