Ex-mineworkers receive over R76m of their unclaimed benefits

The North West Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has praised the provincial government for its dedication to tracing and tracking ex-mineworkers who left employment without claiming their benefits.

More than 20k individuals traced

The province has so far traced 20,798 ex-mineworkers, with 2,669 claims processed and paid to the tune of R76.9-million between 2022 and 2023.

This comes after Dhlomo launched the compensation project with the North West Premier and MEC for health in August 2022.

“The intervention aims to provide ex-mineworkers and their beneficiaries with access to compensation benefits. These are for occupational lung diseases and other social protection funds. The funds were left unclaimed,” the department explained.

Speaking at Westvaal Hospital in Orkney on Monday, Dhlomo congratulated the North West provincial government. He also commended the provincial health department and all stakeholders, including the Mining Council. The interim ex-mineworkers leadership structure were also congratulated for the job well done.

R76.9m paid out between 2017 and 2021

“The province and the department have done extremely well. If you consider that between 2017 and 2021, the total value of the payouts ranged from between 10% and 11%. But in one year of 2023 the province was able to pay R76.9-million.

“It’s a massive success. Though there are still many ex-mineworkers to be traced and compensated,” said the deputy minister.

The province is working around the clock to find the 168,000 former mineworkers and their beneficiaries. This according to the North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha. 

Working around the clock to find the rest

“We already have community health workers who are doing good work of ‘loss to follow-up’. They track and trace people who miss their TB treatment. When we integrate this programme, we will be able to utilise this resource. It will assist to track and trace ex-mine workers,” Sambatha explained.

In addition, the National Department of Health has committed to ensuring that all centres in the four districts remain operational and accessible. These are located in Westvaal, Old Vryburg, Mahikeng provincial and Job Shimankana Tabane hospitals.

Use of existing outreach programmes

Sambatha assured stakeholders that the department is committed to concluding outreach programmes in the remaining districts. He said this will be done between March and May 2024. This will raise awareness, especially those in deep rural areas who might not be aware of the project.

The department said all key stakeholders in the projects were essential. It said they would be consulted throughout the implementation phases to ensure its success.

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