Tshiamiso Trust has announced that the first batch of more than 100 compensation payments to claimants, beyond December’s pilot payments, has been processed. This tranche of payments follows five-and-a-half months after the operationalisation of claims management system on 20 February 2021.
The payments made total R9 074 523.80. Compensation amounts range from R25 000.00 to R250 000.00.
It is expected that we will see a steady flow of payments to claimants in the months and years ahead now that the requisite processes have been set up. As at 31 July 2021, 39 608 claims have been lodged since the claims lodgement process was opened in February. As has been done in respect of other aspect of the claims process, the Tshiamiso Trust will maintain a progress report on payments made and the progress will be updated daily on the website
Says Tshiamiso CEO Daniel Kotton: “We are gratified that the Tshiamiso Trust has reached a point in its development that the deserving gold mineworkers or their dependants, who have suffered so much, are beginning to receive the compensation to which they are entitled. We undertake to continue as rapidly as is humanly possible”.
The Tshiamiso Trust recognises the impatience expressed by many claimants about the time it has taken for this point to have arrived, since the settlement agreement was reached between the claimants’ attorneys and the six mining companies in 2018. We deeply appreciate the understanding so many mineworkers have demonstrated and can only commit to work tirelessly to address concerns while we resolutely move forward.
There are reasons for the time it has taken to reach this point. These include the long and complex court-approved Trust Deed to which Tshiamiso is required to adhere, including the eight-step process through which each claim must proceed; and the huge logistical and organisational cross-border infrastructure that the Trust has had to establish since its establishment in February 2020, complicated by having to do this in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The logistical infrastructure continues to be expanded in order to enhance capacity and speed up the settlement of claims
The Trust currently has 61 lodgement centres in five countries, and 11 medical centres, six of them mobile, carrying out medical benefit examinations.
Regrettably, there will be some claimants whose applications will have been unsuccessful. Most of the unsuccessful claims failed because Tshiamiso Trust benefits apply only to 82 gold mines owned or managed by the six mining companies, or because the medical records submitted showed conditions found by Tshiamiso’s medical certification panels not to be compensable. Some unsuccessful Tshiamiso claimants may be eligible for benefits from the government Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases.
Any claimant whose claim has been found to be unsuccessful is entitled to ask for a review of the finding by either the Medical Reviewing Authority or the Certification Reviewing Authority, depending on the grounds provided for the unsuccessful finding. The reviewing structures will be fully established in the near future.
All recipients of compensation payments receive personal financial management advice.
There have been incidents where individuals with fraudulent intentions have sought fees from claimants while offering to fast track their claims, a capacity they do not have. Tshiamiso has consistently warned claimants against falling prey to these individuals, and we continue to do so.