WITH the ongoing delays in the M5 billion compensation of former gold miners who succumbed to Tuberculosis (TB) and Silicosis while working in the South African mines, the beneficiaries are worried over the medical examination processes.
Feb. 25, 2022
2 min read
M5 billion for gold miners at stake
A miner in a South African gold mine
- Miners’ activists undertook an inspection of medical examination facility of Tshiamiso Trust
- Trust asked to open its operations, data base and claims management system to public scrutiny
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In the wake of increasing reports and evidence of claimants being misdiagnosed, incorrectly classified for compensation and rejected, Justice for Miners activists undertook an inspection of the medical examination facility of the Tshiamiso Trust and witnessed serious flaws in the standard protocols required for assessing patients for silicosis and TB.
Tshiamiso Trust is mandated to receive and process compensation claims by ex-miners who have been made chronically ill from gold mining.
An important part of assessing a gold miner’s claim to compensation is their medical examination, which serves to determine which illnesses are present and the extent of the illness.
For an ex-miner to receive compensation, they should get tested in order to receive a certificate that confirms they had a certain degree of silicosis.
Of these, the most alarming has been found to be in lung function tests as well as the racial discrimination in the treatment of black and white claimants by Tshiamiso Trust lodgment sites.
“This is not only alarming but also unconstitutional and merits an independent enquiry into the operations of the Tshiamiso Trust to establish if indeed the institutional and logistical arrangements that have been put into place for the last two years are fit for purpose,” Justice for Miners has said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“What we are seeing is system failure and the Tshiamiso Trust’s unwillingness to honestly deal with the grave concerns that have been raised.”
Justice for Miners has since requested Tshiamiso Trust to open its operations, data base and claims management system to public scrutiny and open itself to honest and effective engagement with other bodies.
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The statement said it would be a further betrayal of gold miners and their families whose labour and suffering had built the wealth of South Africa.
These developments come after a class action lawsuit was certified by the South African High Court in 2016 on behalf of miners against 32 gold mining companies.
A settlement was reached on May 3, 2018, after three years of extensive negotiations between the companies and the claimants’ attorneys.
On July 26, 2019, the South Gauteng High Court approved the historic M5 billion settlement agreement, but with only six of the 32 gold mining companies including the African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye-Stillwater.
Only these six gold mining companies agreed to settle out of court. The other 26 companies refused to settle and the case will continue.
Subsequently, the court has also approved the setting up of the Tshiamiso Trust to facilitate payment by the six companies to affected miners.