‘Tshiamiso Trust to start paying valid claimants soon’
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THE TSHIAMISO Trust, which is responsible for carrying out the terms of the R5 billion settlement between six mining companies and thousands of gold mine workers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis in South African mines, said yesterday that it had been successful in reaching claimants and the beginning of the flow of payments was imminent.
“In the four-and-a-half months since our claims system opened, more than 34 400 claimant appointments have been made, and 31 820 claims lodged as of Thursday, July 1,” said Tshiamiso Trust spokesperson Monako Dibetle.
The lion’s share of the claims was lodged by mineworkers from Lesotho, while the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, North West and Mozambique also accounted for thousands of claims.
Dibetle said at this stage Tshiamiso had 54 operational sites across the Southern African Development Community, and the target of 150 sites was an estimate at the inception of the trust.
“Over the past months, we have been monitoring the volumes of claimants per site and have come to the realisation that expansion of sites is no longer necessary. However, in the event of an increase in the number of claimants, the trust will review its approach to accommodate the increase,” said Dibetle.
The trust was established two years ago to ensure thousands of eligible claimants of the historic R5 billion silicosis and tuberculosis receive their compensation.
The companies that are party to the agreement are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater.
Employees who worked on South Africa’s gold mines between March 1965 and December 2019 and contracted silicosis and tuberculosis are eligible to claim. Dibetle said that the beginning of the flow of payments to claimants with valid claims was imminent. “The trust expects to make announcements in this regard before the end of July,” said Dibetle.
In the trust’s 2020/21 annual report, board of trustees chairperson May Hermanus said Covid-19 made its appearance shortly after the trust started developing its operations.
“My biggest concern, besides getting the process to work as intended, is that the expectations of the trust far exceed its mandate. The terms of the trust deed are very specific about who is entitled to benefits and how the benefits are calculated.
“This means that some expectations will not be met. Hopefully, the actuarial report which the trust has commissioned will go a long way in assisting the trust to start an informed conversation on the trust’s likely impact,” said Hermanus.