Calls for urgency in disbursing the funds including Batswana miners
The Southern Africa Trust released a statement last week saying there is need for renewed urgency in disbursing billions of rands in unpaid compensation to mineworkers and their families in Southern African countries including Botswana. The Southern Africa Trust is an independent, regional, non-profit agency which supports organisations and processes with regional impact and public policy development aiming to reduce poverty.
Southern African Trust executive director Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo called for key stakeholders to address the challenges facing beneficiaries to access these benefits, revealing that the unclaimed benefits remain significant. The funds have not been claimed by former mineworkers and dependents from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.
In 2013, the Trust’s conducted research that showed that more than R5.7 billion was owed to mineworkers and their families in compensation and social security funds. While more than R400-million has reportedly been paid, additional funds and interest has accumulated with little change in the amounts owed.
They stated that 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.”
Last week Thursday, the Trust launched a documentary that is expected to 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.
Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources for the South African Government Godfrey Oliphant reportedly said at the launch that significant progress had been made during the last four years to support former miners. This included developing a database of current and former miners on which there was already 700 000 miners. In addition, the South African government was promoting medical examinations with clinics for miners to be examined every two years.
He further sated that there were plans to have such clinics in Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique with a number of these clinics already open to assist ex-miners