The Tshiamiso Trust was established in 2020 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.

Commenting on the milestone, the Trust’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Lusanda Jiya, expressed: “It’s been two years since the Tshiamiso Trust officially began accepting claim lodgements. Two years of serving our claimants, with the help of service providers, stakeholders and our staff. Our people come to work every day with the mission of impacting 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 never be enough to undo the suffering endured by mineworkers and their families. However, we are committed to deliver on our mandate and to ensure that every family that is eligible for compensation receives it.

The frustrations that Jiya alludes to 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 withing the broader social benefits and compensation framework.

Jiya explains that “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. What it can and will do is spend the next 8 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’d like.”

Broadly speaking, the eligibility criteria include amongst others that the mineworker must have:

  • Carried out risk work at one of the qualifying GOLD mines during the qualifying period between 12 March 1965 and 10 December 2019 (bearing in mind that some mines changed ownership during that time and are only considered during the periods that they were owned by the participating mining companies) AND
  • For living mineworkers they must have permanent lung damage from silicosis or TB that they contracted from doing risk work at these mines
  • For deceased mineworkers, there must either be evidence that they died FROM TB within in year of leaving the mine (if it’s a TB claim and the mineworker died before 10 December 2019), OR evidence that they had silicosis or died from silicosis if it’s a silicosis claim.

The once-off compensation amounts were updated in February 2023 in line with the CPI, and range from a little over R10 000 to just under R534 000, with most claims paid to date being around R74 000. The maximum amount payable for each of the 10 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 – 2019.

Over 111,000 claim lodgements have been received to date, through offices in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini, and Mozambique. The Trust is working with stakeholders in these countries and others to mobilise its efforts and expand operations.

Potential claimants, including mineworkers, or their families if they are deceased, are encouraged to call the Tshiamiso Trust contact centre on 0801 000 240 (for South Africa) or 0027 10 500 6186 (outside South Africa). They can also connect on the Tshiamiso Trust Facebook page and have their questions answered.

Claimants are reminded to be careful of people impersonating the Trust or promising to help speed up their claims. Only the Tshiamiso Trust can process claims. This is a FREE service. Claimants must only share their documents with the officials at the lodgement offices.

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