Thousands of Southern African ex-miners working under the Witwatersrand Native Labor Association are now able to mine benefits tied to a high court settlement over work-related health damage.
Six mining groups have been ordered to pay out R5 billion Rand to miners and their families resulting from the miners either contracting silicosis, exposed to silica dust, contracted tuberculosis, or died on the job between 1965 and 2019.
The 2019 South African High Court settlement was with African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Goldfields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater.
The Southern African Miners Association says it is working with the Tshiamiso Trust, the organization tasked with administering funds to the beneficiaries, to ensure that all affected ex-miners receive their payout.
Officials of the Zimbabwean affiliate of SAMA say their database has over 8,000 names from a pool of 30,000 former miners and dependents; while Zambian officials report affected members who predate 1965 as the class action suit.
SAMA official Vama Jele said “We had a case that began in 2012 and was finalized in 2019. To date, Tshiamiso Trust is trying to reach out to workers in all eight Southern African nations where they recruited.”
Jele adds, “Should any mine workers have worked in those six gold mining companies, then that is a potential claimant.”
Mining experts say migrant workers played a crucial role in building South Africa’s economy.
Political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube says compensating miners for injuries and deaths should be a given, not a goal.
“These are people who sacrificed immensely, many of whom died in the mining accidents and so forth to get the gold out to power the South African economy, create jobs downstream and other industries,” said Ncube.