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HomeAfricaClaims Paid Out to Ex-Mineworkers: Insights from Deputy Minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo

Claims Paid Out to Ex-Mineworkers: Insights from Deputy Minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, commended the North West Province for its significant progress in tracing and tracking ex-mineworkers who had not claimed their benefits. Alongside North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha at Westvaal Hospital, the Deputy Minister discovered that a total of 20,798 ex-mine workers were successfully traced, with 2,669 claims processed and paid a total of R76.9 million between August 2022 and the end of 2023.

The project to compensate ex-mineworkers in the North West Province was launched in August 2022 by the Deputy Minister of Health, Premier of North West Province, and the Health MEC.

The goal of the initiative is to provide compensation benefits for ex-mineworkers and their beneficiaries for occupational lung diseases and other unclaimed social protection funds.

During a visit to Westvaal Hospital in Orkney, the Deputy Health Minister, Dhlomo, applauded the efforts of the North West Province, the provincial health department, and all stakeholders for their dedication to tracing deserving ex-mine workers.

Deputy Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo stated, “The province and the Department have made significant progress. In 2023 alone, the province managed to pay out R76.9 million, compared to 10 to 11% of payouts between 2017 and 2021. While there are still many ex-mineworkers to be found and compensated, this achievement is remarkable.”

All stakeholders present engaged in discussions on strategies to accelerate tracing and tracking efforts for an estimated 168,000 Ex-mineworkers and their beneficiaries in the North West Province.

MEC Madoda Sambatha committed to integrating the Ex-mineworkers program into the Department’s HAST program to enhance tracing through existing community health worker resources.

Mr Tana Mahlophe, the Ex-Mineworkers Council Interim Provincial Secretary, suggested hiring two ex-mineworkers per region to assist in tracing efforts, with support from the Mineral Council of South Africa if needed.

The Department of Health pledged to ensure that all ex-mineworkers centers in the four districts remain operational and accessible. The designated centers include Westvaal Hospital, Old Vryburg Hospital, Mahikeng Provincial Hospital, and Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital.

MEC Sambatha confirmed plans to conclude outreach in remaining districts by May 2024 to raise awareness among ex-mineworkers, particularly those in rural areas.

All key stakeholders, such as provincial leadership, local government structures, and industry partners, are crucial for the project’s success. Continuous consultation with these stakeholders throughout the implementation phases is vital for project success.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the South African Government.

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