Tshiamiso Trust announces initial progress of claims

Johannesburg, 2 March 2021: The Tshiamiso Trust announced today initial progress in the launch last month of the claims process for prospective recipients of benefits for current and former mineworkers who have contracted silicosis or work-related tuberculosis on 82 gold mines in the decades since March 1965.

The silicosis and tuberculosis class action settlement and Trust Deed was agreed between six mining companies and the attorneys representing mineworkers wanting to claim damages against those companies. The companies that were party to the settlement agreement are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater.

As of 20 January 2021, prospective claimants were able to begin booking appointments at 50 lodgement offices in mining centres and areas from which labour has historically been drawn in South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini and Botswana. And from 15 February, those offices were opened to accepting the lodgement of documents from these claimants.

Most of the lodgement offices are located at TEBA offices with which the Trust has negotiated a partnership agreement. Other lodgement centres will be opened in due course. It is the intention of the Trust to involve additional service providers in this process.

To further facilitate the payment of benefits to eligible claimants, the Trust has negotiated a contract with Aurum Innova, SA mining’s leading occupational health agency. Aurum Innova is supplying mobile medical clinics and some permanent ones to carry out benefit medical examinations (BMEs) on claimants where this is necessary to prove claims. Tshiamiso has also negotiated a contract with Netcare for use of its facilities around the country. There will be further BME networks developed including, we hope, with state health facilities and with general practitioners at local sites.

The outcome of this work is that, as of 28 February, Tshiamiso’s call centre has dealt with 10,151 calls, and since 15 February:

  • 5,638 claimants have made appointments to lodge;
  • 2,402 have formally lodged claims applications; and
  • 408 have undergone BMEs

Said Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Tshiamiso Trust, Prof May Hermanus: “It has been a challenging exercise for the trustees ? later reinforced by the management team ? to set up the huge infrastructure, based strictly on the court approved trust deed agreed by the parties, that is needed to implement the 12-year, R5 billion settlement that will ultimately pay out benefits to an expected tens of thousands of people.”

She also acknowledged the delays claimants have experienced: “The wait since May 2018, and since the establishment of the Trust in February 2020, has been a source of frustration for our prospective claimants, many of whom are old, and ill. Where they have passed away, the wait has been the ordeal of their dependants. The trustees and the management of Tshiamiso are painfully aware of this.”

In outlining the progress in the claims process, Tshiamiso CEO Daniel Kotton repeated warnings of scams where unauthorised individuals have asked for payments from claimants to assist in the processing of their claims: “These are very serious scams because these individuals have no capacity – or intention – to assist. I want to emphasise that Tshiamiso will never ask claimants to pay any fee for clerical assistance in lodging their claims,” he said.

Tshiamiso expressed its gratitude for the co-operation received from various stakeholders including provincial and local governments, and the national governments of the neighbouring countries in the establishment of the Tshiamiso infrastructure.

Said Prof Hermanus: “The Trust is mindful and very appreciative of the support and potential partnership of many different stakeholders in southern Africa. The greatest form of justice we can try and fully support is to get money as soon as possible to individual mineworkers and their families. We have resolutely embarked on that process but cannot do this on our own, and we appeal for the understanding and support of the many stakeholders in this critically important process”.

For further information please contact:

Monako Dibetle
Email: Monako.Dibetle@tshiamisotrust.com
M: 082 908 2548

Alan Fine or Katherine Bester
Email: alan@rasc.co.za or katherineb@rasc.co.za
M: 083 250 0757 or 083 441 0671