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Ex-mineworkers compensated for lung diseases

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The departments are also working towards aligning the industry’s occupational health and safety policies

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A TOTAL of 1 203 payments were made in March 2018, amounting to R18.2 million, to compensate ex-mineworkers, including many from the Northern Cape, for occupational lung diseases.

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation said in a statement that this represented the highest number of payments in a month since the commencement of the tracking and tracing process.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Special Presidential Package for the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities and Labour-Sending Areas was established in 2012, in accordance with the 2012 Social Accord signed by organised labour, business and government.

“From April 2015 to March 2016, some 1 766 claimants were paid a total of R79 million, with the bulk of payments going to ex-mineworkers from labour-sending areas within South Africa.

“From April 2017 to March 2018, a total of 10 409 claimants were paid R254 million, representing an increase of about 500% in claimants paid and 200% increase in monies paid. Five years ago, an average of 2 000 claimants were paid. About R110 million went to 4 912 claimants in neighbouring countries,” the department said.

Potential claimants or their beneficiaries can call 080 1000 240 to check the status of their claims or if they need medical assessment.

“Medical assessments are provided in decentralised One-Stop Service Centres such as those in provincial hospitals in Mthatha (Eastern Cape), Carletonville (Gauteng), Burgersfort (near Limpopo and Mpumalanga) and Kuruman (Northern Cape), and in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland,” the department said.

Mobile clinics have also been used successfully in selected districts in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

“Fifteen medical doctors have been seconded by the mining companies for the Certification Committees at the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases. A web-based link to the Department of Health is available – www.health.gov.za/ccod – and provides information on accessing medical services and claims,” the department said.

Mobile clinics have also been used successfully in selected districts in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

“Fifteen medical doctors have been seconded by the mining companies for the Certification Committees at the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases. A web-based link to the Department of Health is available – www.health.gov.za/ccod – and provides information on accessing medical services and claims,” the department said.

Through co-ordination and support from the IMC – which includes the Department of Health, Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Labour and is chaired by the Minister in the Presidency – work continues to track and trace claimants of unpaid financial compensation to ex-mineworkers.

The departments are also working towards aligning the industry’s occupational health and safety policies, and the required legislative changes, to facilitate access to compensation and other benefits for ex-mineworkers.

This will also include the reorganisation of the compensation system and access to benefits for former and current mineworkers.