URGENT: Zimbabweans who worked for Wenela eligible for compensation

URGENT: Zimbabweans who worked for Wenela eligible for compensation
Published: 21 June 2018 (271 Views)
if you know of any mine worker who used to work in the South African mines and contracted silicosis or TB, may you get in touch with Ms. Phephelaphi Dube.

These persons may be eligible for compensation.

Please also spread the word emakhaya. Wenela had extensive reach across Southern Africa. Contact number  +27 74 740 5120 and email: pdube@cfcr.org.za.

Representatives of Southern African Miners Association (Sama) in Zimbabwe have said close to 4 000 ex-Wenela workers have registered for terminal benefits.

Wenela, acronym for Witwatersrand Native Labour Association in South Africa, closed in the early 1980s and thousands of locals who once worked there are poised to receive a windfall once pension talks are concluded.

Xulu Attorneys of South Africa have been engaged to represent the former workers, drawn from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, among others.

The ex-workers will at a later stage be expected to go for X-rays so that they get compensated if they contracted lung diseases such as silicosis during their period of employment, a process which will be funded by the World Bank, according to Sama Zimbabwe representative Mr Lungelwe Mkwananzi.

South African gold producers agreed a 5 billion rand ($400 million) class action settlement with law firms representing thousands of miners who contracted the fatal lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis.

The most far-reaching class action settlement ever reached in South Africa followed a long legal battle by miners to win compensation for illnesses they say they contracted over decades because of negligence in health and safety.

The six companies involved had already set aside the settlement amount in provisions in previous financial statements and it should not affect future earnings, unless the number of claimants who come forward exceed the current provisions.

Estimates for the number of potential claimants range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Three smaller gold producers are not party to the settlement and the class action against them will continue.

The class action suit was launched six years ago on behalf of miners suffering from silicosis, an incurable disease caused by inhaling silica dust from gold-bearing rocks.

It causes shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest pains, and also makes people highly susceptible to tuberculosis.

Almost all the claimants are black miners from South Africa and neighboring countries such as Lesotho, whom critics say were not provided with adequate protection during and after apartheid rule ended in 1994.

The settlement is broken into three parts and a trust will have 12 years to track down the claimants and distribute the funds - no easy task as many are in remote rural areas and may do not have proper medical and other records.

Out of the 5 billion rand, 845 million rand will be used to cover the administration expenses of the trust over the 12 years and 370 million rand will be paid to the law firms.

The remainder is for compensation and the final total will depend on the number of claims that are processed.

"If there are more claimants the actuaries have estimated, then that five billion number could increase. If there are less then it will decrease," Graham Briggs, who chaired the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group, a unit put together by the six companies, told a news conference.

In addition to the anticipated settlement payout, there is also close to 4 billion rand in a compensation fund which companies have been contributing to for years.

The companies involved are Harmony Gold, Gold Fields, African Rainbow Minerals, Sibanye-Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American South Africa. The latter no longer has gold assets but historically was a bullion producer.

Same ball park

"Our numbers differ slightly from the industry, we think there are more claimants and that the numbers will be higher than what they anticipate. While we differ slightly with the industry we think it's all in the same ball park," said Richard Spoor, one of the lawyers representing the mine workers.

It is the first class-action settlement in South Africa involving so many companies and claimants.

"The settlement is the product of commercial negotiation and compromise, but we believe this is a beneficial settlement," said Carina du Toit, a lawyer with the Legal Resources Centre, one of the law groups representing the workers.

Abrahams Kiewitz Inc and Richard Spoor Attorneys and two other companies also represented the mine workers.

The parties said the compromise settlement was preferable for all concerned rather than a lengthy and expensive litigation process, and would enable the claimants to receive compensation and relief for their conditions more quickly.

The settlement still needs approval by the Johannesburg High Court before being implemented.

In recent years the gold mining industry has taken precautions to prevent its workers from contracting silicosis, including the use of masks and other measures.

- online

Tags: Wenela, Zimbabweans, TB,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Man loses 'Toyota Raum' to robbers

by Simbarashe Sithole | 21 September 2018 | 52 Views

International media stampede to interview Mnangagwa

by Staff Reporter | 21 September 2018 | 65 Views

Brutalising vendors must stop

by Jacob Mafume, MDC National Spokesperson | 21 September 2018 | 54 Views

I doubt if Dabengwa really endorsed Mnangagwa - Mthwakazi activist

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 127 Views

President Mnangagwa debuts at UNGA

by Bevan Musoko | 21 September 2018 | 127 Views

BREAKING: Harare - Johannesburg Intercape bus in accident, 10 people dead

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 264 Views

Stop unnecessary traveling to cholera affected areas - MIHR

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 96 Views

We need Mthwakazi restoration soon

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 89 Views

Rural development agenda should be on the priority list

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 87 Views

IMF offers to help Zimbabwe clear arrears

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 198 Views

Mugabe's party rejoins Mnangagwa's Zanu-PF

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 207 Views

Streak seeks ZC liquidation

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 114 Views

'Chamisa must not waste time fighting Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 202 Views

Chipanga appeal thrown out

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 148 Views

New minister cracks the whip

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 140 Views

Deal decisively with Parly delinquents

by Zvamaida Murwira | 21 September 2018 | 108 Views

Mthuli Ncube faces tough choices

by Lovemore Chikova | 21 September 2018 | 132 Views

Currency reform answer to Zimbabwe's economic woes

by Bongani Ngwenya | 21 September 2018 | 107 Views

Dabengwa ditches Chamisa, endorses Mnangagwa?

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 124 Views

Sibusiso Moyo alive & well

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 118 Views

'Mugabe University not a priority'

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 100 Views

Chamisa battles open rebellion

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 125 Views

Prophet up for pregnant woman rape

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 93 Views

Bulawayo pins hopes on devolution

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 72 Views

Nust shut down

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 121 Views

Zimbabweans want US or Zim dollar only, not SA Rand

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 118 Views

Chamisa's MDC Alliance starts merging into single party

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 74 Views

Vic Falls man hangs self after bar brawl

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 63 Views

Cholera hits Beitbridge

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 62 Views

Cop up for assault

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 47 Views

Gumbura hires Madhuku to challenge delayed trial

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 59 Views

Devolution will develop provinces with natural resources

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 42 Views

Family evicted, dumped in the bush

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 45 Views

Soul Brothers coming to Bulawayo

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 78 Views

Zimbabwean scientist wins Cambridge scholarship

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 46 Views

MDC Alliance activist jailed over arson threats

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 37 Views