- June 6, 2021
- Posted in NEWS
THE Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has started engaging its South African counterparts to facilitate the compensation of Zimbabweans who contracted respiratory diseases while working in South Africa’s gold mines under the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (Wenela).
Mine workers who were exposed to harmful substances and contracted lung diseases at the South African gold mines are set to receive compensation worth R10 000 to R500 000.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima told The Sunday Mail that Zimbabwe and South Africa have activated an agreement made under the two countries’ Bi-National Commission to establish a Joint Taskforce to facilitate payment of the compensation.
Beneficiaries of the payments are obliged to be tested for the respiratory diseases.
Prof Mavima said 400 prospective beneficiaries have been tested in Bulawayo so far, with the testing programme to be rolled out in all the country’s provinces.
“The Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Social Security Authority is conducting medical examinations and registration of potential beneficiaries for Compensation for Pneumoconiosis to facilitate claims for compensation through the Tshiamiso Trust which was established to process the claims. Initial phase has targeted three provinces, Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo. Around 400 ex-miners and their dependents have been registered in Bulawayo through the medical surveillance programme. The rest of the provinces will be completed with lessons learnt from the initial phase.”
Ex-Wenela Miners Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Lungelwe Mkhwananzi implored other potential beneficiaries to undergo the tests.
“The Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in partnership with National Social Services Authority (NSSA) will be testing for pneumoconiosis and silicosis, as well as registration of the ex-Wenela mine workers. The process started on May 31, 2021.
“The mobile testing and registration will be rolled out in all of the country’s 10 provinces. We are calling on all ex-Wenela workers to come forward and get tested and be registered. This exercise is being done for free,” he said.
In 2019, the Johannesburg High Court ruled that workers who contracted either Silicosis or Tuberculosis will get compensated upon receiving diagnosis.
About 10 000 ex-mine workers are expected to get the funds. The workers used to be employed by African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye-Stillwater.