North West ex-mineworkers receive over R76m of their unclaimed benefits

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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

The North West 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 for occupational lung diseases and other social protection funds which were left unclaimed,” the department explained. 

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

“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. 

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

“We already have community health workers who are doing good work of ‘loss to follow-up’ because they track and trace people who miss their TB treatment. When we integrate this programme, we will be able to utilise this resource 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 located in Westvaal, Old Vryburg, Mahikeng Provincial and Job Shimankana Tabane hospitals remain operational and accessible. 

Sambatha concluded the deliberations by assuring stakeholders that the department is committed to concluding outreach in the remaining districts between March and May 2024, as 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 and would be consulted throughout the implementation phases to ensure its success. –