Tshiamiso Trust has paid R800m to mineworkers in lung disease settlement
Trust, which was formed as part of a R5bn agreement between victims or their families and six mining companies, remains determined to trace all eligible claimants
The Tshiamiso Trust, established to compensate former gold mine workers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis related to work, has paid just under R800m in benefits to almost 9,000 eligible claimants by the end of September.
The numbers are set to rise as the trusts’ systems are enhanced and it hopes to have settled 10,000 claims by February 2023, while its mandate remains tracing and paying every eligible claimant.
The trust was formed after a R5bn settlement in a 2018 class-action lawsuit was reached between the victims or their families and six mining companies: African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater. The money will to be paid out over 13 years.
“With 8,917 claims paid as of September 30 2022, we are well on our way to meeting and exceeding our target,” the trust said, adding that insufficient documentation is the primary reason for certification delays.
“Claims related to deceased mineworkers are especially difficult to process with limited documented information on the cause of death, which must be diagnosed as either work-related silicosis or cardio-respiratory tuberculosis to qualify for compensation,” the trust said.
“To aid in substantiating these claims, the trust has partnered with government bodies and provincial health departments to access historical health data, unabridged death certificates, post-mortem reports and medical records from clinics and hospitals. This is a mammoth task as most archives dating back to 1965 have not been digitised.”
For living claimants, the trust relies on medical examinations to confirm the presence of compensable disease. The lengthy process is compounded by a lack of occupational and pulmonary health specialists, the trust said.
“We also need to be mindful of the time periods built into the trust deed. This includes a 90-day period for beneficiaries to be added to claims and a 90-day allowance for certification by the agent who represents the mining companies ... there are many dependencies beyond our control, and it is clear the trust’s initial estimate of six months to process claims was unrealistic,” it added.
In terms of the settlement agreement, miners who worked at mines operated by one of the six companies between March 12 1965 and December 10 2019 are potentially eligible for compensation.
The compensation for qualifying miners largely depends on the level of lung impairment suffered by a former miner or the results of a post-mortem lung inspection.
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