March 7, 2023


3 min read

Over 5 000 Basotho ex-mineworkers receive TB, Silicosis compensation

Over 5 000 Basotho ex-mineworkers receive TB, Silicosis compensation

Mineworkers in South Africa

Story highlights

    Over 111 000 claims lodged in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini and Mozambique
    Compensated claims total M433. 9 million

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DESPITE endless frustrations among former Basotho mineworkers who contracted Silicosis and Tuberculosis (TB) in South African mines, Tshiamiso Trust, a body entrusted to give effect to the historic silicosis and TB class action lawsuit, has revealed that a total of 5 056 Basotho claimants have been compensated a total sum of M433. 9 million.

This makes up 43 percent of all Tshiamiso Trust claims paid.

The once-off compensation amounts were updated in February this year and range from as little as over M10 000 to just under M534 000 with most claims paid to date being around M74 000.

The maximum amount payable for each of the various compensation classes may be reduced based on risk work done on non-qualifying mines or outside of the qualifying periods, including if the qualifying gold mine changed ownership between 1965 and 2019.

These developments come after a class action lawsuit on behalf of miners against 32 gold mining companies was certified by the South African High Court in 2016.

Resultantly, 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, namely, the African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields, Harmony Gold as well as Sibanye-Stillwater.

On 27 February this year, Tshiamiso Trust revealed that 40 746 claims had been lodged in Lesotho and 17 742 Benefit Medical Examinations (BMEs) had been conducted.

Across other jurisdictions in the region, and roughly two years after the Trust started processing claims for the historic M5 billion settlement agreement, the Trust has announced that the first M1 billion has been paid over to 11 316 eligible silicosis and TB claimants.

“It has been two years since the Tshiamiso Trust officially began accepting claim lodgments—two years of serving our claimants with the help of service providers, stakeholders, and our staff. Our people come to work every day to impact lives for the better and the first billion Rand paid out to over 11 000 families is just the beginning. We know that there are many frustrations, and we know that no compensation will ever be enough to undo the suffering endured by mineworkers and their families. However, we are committed to delivering our mandate and ensuring that every family that is eligible for compensation receives it,” Tshiamiso Trust Acting Chief Executive Officer, Lusanda Jiya revealed this week.

The frustrations are plentiful, mostly related to the lack of understanding of the limitations of the Trust, the requirements of the Trust Deed that governs it, and expectations of where it fits within the broader social benefits and compensation framework.

“Trusts are limited both in terms of the time in which they can operate, and the extent to which they can assist those seeking compensation. The Tshiamiso Trust has a lifespan of 12 years, ending February 2031. It cannot change the compensation system and it cannot help people who do not meet the criteria for compensation.

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“What it can and will do is spend the next eight years using the Trust as a tool to deliver benefits to as many qualifying ex-mineworkers as possible by empowering claimants and potential claimants with the correct information and servicing them in the best way possible, within the constraints of the Trust Deed. Unfortunately, the eligibility criteria dictated by the Trust Deed results in the majority of claims being rejected for medical reasons alone, and many claims, especially for deceased mineworkers taking far longer to process than we would like,” Jiya added.

The eligibility criteria include amongst others that the mineworkers carried out risk work at one of the qualifying gold mines during the qualifying period between March 12, 1965, and December 10, 2019. 

Living mineworkers must have permanent lung damage from silicosis or TB that they contracted from doing risky work at these mines. For deceased mineworkers, there must either be evidence that they died from TB within a year of leaving the mine or proof that they had silicosis or died from silicosis.  

Over 111 000 claim lodgments have been received through offices in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, and Mozambique.

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