Silicosis: Court to finalise settlement for stricken miners
A historic settlement will be placed before the South Gauteng High Court today through which workers who suffered from silicosis and tuberculosis due to their work in the mines will be compensated.
The settlement which is the first of its kind in the country’s history was reached by the Legal Resources Centre‚ Abrahams Kiewitz Inc and Richard Spoor Attorneys‚ who represented thousands of mineworkers‚ and the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) Working Group‚ who represented African Rainbow Minerals‚ Anglo American SA‚ AngloGold Ashanti‚ Gold Fields‚ Harmony‚ Sibanye Stillwater and Pan African Resources.
In the deal the mining companies will make an initial contribution for benefit payments of R1.4bn for the first two years.
The draft settlement which was signed in Johannesburg this year provides for medical examination and compensation to mine workers who worked in gold mines from March 12‚ 1965‚ to date.
The court is expected to look into the draft settlement and once approved a trust will be set up to do the work of finding the potential claimants and facilitating the process. Mining companies will contribute R845m in administration costs to the trust.
In the draft settlement, there is no limit on the number of potential claimants and individuals can opt out if they wish to do so. Claimants must have worked at a mine for two years between March 12‚ 1965 and February 28‚ 1994‚ issued with a tuberculosis certificate within a year of working at least one shift at a mine.
Mineworkers’ benefits will increase annually in line with inflation from the third year of the trust.
Silicosis is a progressive disease of the lungs caused by breathing in silica dust in gold mines‚ which can lead to tuberculosis.
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