Time to deal with billions owed to mineworkers

By The Southern Africa Trust

The Southern Africa Trust is calling for renewed urgency in disbursing billions of rands in unpaid compensation to mineworkers and their families in Southern Africa.

The Trust’s research in 2013 showed that more than ZAR 5.7 billion was owed to mineworkers and their families in compensation and social security funds. While more than R400-million has since been paid, additional funds and interest has accrued with little change in the amounts owed.

“The unclaimed benefits remain significant,” said Southern African Trust executive director Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo. “This is a call to key stakeholders to address the challenges facing beneficiaries to access these benefits.”

The challenges that have contributed to the experiences by the beneficiaries ranged from the long and cumbersome administrative and bureaucratic claiming procedures, the lack of information, capacity and resources among the beneficiaries to complete the requirements. 

According to Dr. Moyo, the unclaimed funds are currently being held in various South African social security and compensation institutions: “These funds have not been claimed by former mineworkers and dependents from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.”

To address the issue, the Southern Africa Trust will launch a documentary on former mineworkers and their challenges to accessing social security and compensation benefits on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria, South Africa.

The documentary will provide an overview of the challenges of the miners and their families. The documentary emphasizes the magnitude of the challenges of ex-miners and beneficiaries to access their benefits. The documentary also shows the positive efforts by various stakeholders to disburse the benefits.

South Africa’s deputy minister of mineral resources, honourable Godfrey Oliphant will deliver the keynote address on Thursday.

At the launch, a panel discussion which will feature prominent individuals from mining to labour experts under the theme “What more can we do? How do we address the challenges impending the disbursement of the owed benefits to mineworkers and their families?”

Among the recommendations being investigated are investing more resources in tracing and tracking the location of beneficiaries as well as increased awareness programmes.

“There needs to be conclusive process provided to beneficiaries to meet administrative and regulatory requirements to make claims on benefits. A central database combining social security and compensation services would assist miner’s access all the information pertaining to their benefits,” said Dr. Moyo

The Southern Africa Trust is a regional organisation that supports processes that facilitate citizen’s participation in policy dialogue with a regional impact on poverty. The Trust is working to strengthen the voice and agency of poor people in policy processes to advance the regional integration agenda for southern Africa.

For interviews and media enquires

Christabel Phiri

Southern Africa Trust, Mobilization and Engagement Manager

011 318 1012

cphiri@southernafricatrust.org