SOME of the people from Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, at the Union Buildings who are demanding compensation for mine workers who became ill because of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Iyani Nosang’s late husband, and ex-mineworker from Kuruman in the Northern Cape, succumbed to mesothelioma - an incurable lung cancer that is the final stage of an asbestos-related disease.

This was in 2004 after he had been working at Gefco Asbestos Mine for many years .

His widow is one of many elderly spouses, beneficiaries and ex-mine workers who have camped outside Pretoria’s Union Buildings in a bid to find answers after failure to be compensated by the Asbestos Relief Trust, set up after Gencor, Gefco, Msauli and British multinational Cape agreed to pay R460.5million as full and final settlements for health sufferings.

The companies did so without admission of liability for any damages arising from asbestos-related diseases.

The group is sharing shelter with the Khoisan representatives who have been camping at the Union Buildings since last year, demanding recognition.

The money was to be paid out to different categories of people who contracted asbestos-related diseases as an occupational disease while employed between 1965 and 1988.

The other recipients were beneficiaries of those who had died from asbestos-related diseases, and people who contracted a lung disease related to exposure to asbestos.

At its annual meeting in Joburg in November 2017, the trust announced that it had paid a total of R318845072 to 4565 qualifying claimants. However, the group said it had not received anything from the trust.

Nosang and the others accused the trust of withholding benefits from mineworkers and their families.

She said she had been forced to raise three children under tough situation after her husband’s death.

“I am here for compensation. I can barely make ends meet because my husband was not compensated. I had to raise my children under difficult situations after my husband fell ill.”

Silvia Mereyotlhe, whose husband also died from a lung-related disease, said they wanted compensation after waiting for many years.

In a letter, the Presidency acknowledged their concerns and said that these had been “forwarded to the relevant people.”

The group said it would not leave until all members were given satisfactory feedback on their compensation claims.

Pretoria News