Zimbabwe has started engaging South Africa to facilitate the compensation of Zimbabweans who contracted respiratory diseases while working in South Africa’s gold mines under the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA).
Mineworkers who were exposed to harmful substances and contracted lung diseases at the South African gold mines are set to receive compensation worth R10 000 to R500 000.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima told State media that Zimbabwe and South Africa have activated an agreement made under the two countries’ Bi-National Commission to establish a Joint Taskforce to facilitate payment of the compensation.
Beneficiaries of the payments are obliged to be tested for respiratory diseases, with 400 prospective beneficiaries having been tested in Bulawayo to date. Said Minister Mavima:
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Social Security Authority is conducting medical examinations and registration of potential beneficiaries for Compensation for Pneumoconiosis to facilitate claims for compensation through the Tshiamiso Trust which was established to process the claims.
The initial phase has targeted three provinces, Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo. Around 400 ex-miners and their dependents have been registered in Bulawayo through the medical surveillance programme.
The rest of the provinces will be completed with lessons learnt from the initial phase.
Ex-Wenela Miners Association of Zimbabwe president Lungelwe Mkhwananzi implored other potential beneficiaries to undergo the tests.
The Johannesburg High Court in 2019 ruled that workers who contracted either Silicosis or Tuberculosis will get compensated upon receiving the diagnosis.