Thaba-Tseka, March 14, 2024 – The Tshiamiso Trust office in Thaba-Tseka will conclude its operations on March 29, 2024, after six months of dedicated service to the local community. Throughout this period, the office has diligently addressed inquiries, facilitated registrations, and assisted in lodging claims for community members. Mineworkers who worked at gold mines in South Africa, got permanent lung damage from work-related TB or silicosis, and have not yet lodged a claim from the Tshiamiso Trust, are encouraged to do so without a delay.

The satellite office opened in September 2023 to bring services closer to the approximately 1,262 potential claimants in the area, as informed by the Trust’s database and requested by the government of Lesotho.

The office was set to be piloted for five months, with an extension dependent on lodgement numbers. With only 141 people having lodged claims since the office opened, it has become clear that the low activity levels do not justify the continued operation of the office beyond March 29, 2024.

“Despite our best efforts to publicise the office’s opening and encourage claim lodgement, the level of activity did not meet the anticipated numbers and did not align with the initial projections that justified the establishment of the office,” commented Tshiamiso Trust CEO, Munyadziwa Kwinda.

“We are cognisant of the impact that this decision will have on both current and potential claimants who have yet to lodge their claims. Please rest assured that ongoing support for claimants will remain accessible through our existing channels, including our Call Centre and nine other TEBA Lodgement Offices in Lesotho. Additionally, we will explore initiatives aimed at deploying lodgement and Benefit Medical Examination (BME) services to the area through targeted Outreach Campaigns,” he said.

The Trust has successfully lodged 51,632 Basotho claims through the nine lodgement offices across the country. Out of this total, 7,239 claims have been identified as eligible for compensation. The Trust acknowledges the gap in these numbers, and with its comprehensive data and enhanced systems, the Trust is committed to ensuring that the claims process operates optimally and efficiently going forward.

“We are grateful for the assistance from the government and remain committed to working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that every eligible claimant across nine regions of Lesotho receives the compensation due to them,” added Dr Kwinda.

The Tshiamiso Trust was established to give effect to the settlement agreement reached between six mining companies and claimant attorneys in the historic silicosis and TB class action. The companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Stillwater and Gold Fields.

The Trust is only able to assist the mineworkers (or their families if the mineworker is deceased) who worked at specific gold mines, during specific periods, and have permanent lung damage from silicosis or work-related TB due to risk work exposure.

Potential claimants are encouraged to first contact the toll-free call centre to see if they may be eligible to lodge a claim. They will then need to take all available documents to the lodgement centre. These documents include personal identification documents, proof of relationship, service records, medical records that prove silicosis or TB, and a death certificate showing the medical cause of death, if relevant.

There are many criteria for eligibility and each claim goes through several steps to determine if compensation is due and if so, how much. Claimants are urged to be very careful when sharing their personal information, to avoid paying anybody to help them with their claim, and to not fall victim to those who may seek to take advantage.

All claimants who already have claims in the pipeline have been informed of the closure and advised of the nearest TEBA office where their claim will be referred to if the admin and medical teams are unable to finalize their claims before the closure. Those who do not manage to lodge a claim before the end of the month will still be able to do so, but they will need to travel to a different lodgement centre.

Any mineworkers who meet the criteria below but have not yet lodged a claim with the Trust should make contact as soon as possible to see if they qualify to lodge and can be assisted:

  • Did risk work at a South African gold mine between 12 March 1965 and 10 December 2019 AND
  • Have been diagnosed with silicosis AND/OR
  • Have permanent lung damage from work-related TB that you contracted while working at a qualifying mine or within a year of leaving the mine.

If an ex-mineworker in your family meets the criteria above but has passed away, you may be eligible to lodge a claim on their behalf. They will need the required evidence that the mineworker died FROM TB within in year of leaving the mine (if the mineworker died before 10 December 2019) OR evidence that they had silicosis (if they died after 2008) or died from silicosis.

The lodgement office is situated in the Thaba-Tseka Project Area, opposite DHMT offices, Thaba- Tseka Police Street. Other lodgement offices will remain in Maseru, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng,

Mokhotlong, Leribe, Teyateyaneng and Qacha’s Nek.