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Landmark silicosis compensation scheme agreed with AASA and AngloGold

As part of the landmark settlement which has been agreed between 4,365 former gold miners and AASA and AngloGold, a trust will be set up to process the claims and dispense compensation to claimants who satisfy specified criteria. The trust has been named Q(h)ubeka, meaning ‘progress’ in Xhosa in honour of the thousands of claimants who have struggled for decades without proper compensation from the mining companies.

A total of R464 million (£21 million) will be paid into the Q(h)ubeka Trust for distribution, while a further amount will be paid to assist the Trust to enable payment of ODMWA compensation to Claimants who qualify for it. In addition, Anglo American and AngloGold will fund the costs of the Trust and the medical evaluations.

In order to qualify for compensation, claimants will need to be medically diagnosed with silicosis and have worked on an AASA or AngloGold mine for at least two years.

The Trust will arrange medical evaluations of the claimants locally to determine the existence and severity of silicosis.

Payments will be based on a tariff system, which will reflect the severity of disease and age of the claimant. Relatives of deceased claimants who meet the criteria will be included. Since the overall amount of the settlement is a fixed amount, the level of the tariffs will depend on the number of claimants who qualify. Based on an analysis of a random sample it is anticipated that approximately 60% of the group may qualify.

In addition to payment from the Trust, the Trust will arrange for claims to be submitted to the Medical Bureau of Diseases for compensation under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act 1973 (ODMWA), which established a no-fault system to compensate miners suffering from prescribed occupational diseases. The absence of clinics in rural areas means that most miners with silicosis have not been diagnosed and are therefore deprived of compensation. The assistance of the Trust in securing ex-miners’ ODMWA compensation is therefore vital. AASA and AGA have also promised to use their best efforts to facilitate these ODMWA payments.

The Q(h)ubeka Trustees, chaired by Doctor Sophia Kisting, are experts in the fields of occupational disease, financial administration and law:
  • Dr Sophia Kisting (Chair) is National Executive Director of the National Institute for Occupational Health & National Cancer Registry (Jbg) prior to which she was Director of Global International Labour Organisation Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work in Geneva. Dr Kisting was a trustee on the Asbestos Relief Trust.
  • Goolam Aboobaker is a trained economist and also a trustee of the Kagiso Trust established in May 1985 as a mechanism to channel funds to promote the struggle against apartheid as well as uplift and empower communities deprived by the system. He served as Deputy Director General (and Deputy Head) of the Policy Unit in the office of President Thabo Mbeki, was a senior advisor to the IMF executive director and was Deputy Director General of the National Treasury.
  • John Doidge is an attorney who is Managing Director of the Geneva Management Group. He is a trustee on the Asbestos Relief Trust.
  • Bridgitte Mathews has been a member of the African Women Chartered Accountants since 2007 and a member of the Institute of Directors since 2011.

The medical evaluations will be run by Dr Jim teWaterNaude, a specialist at the University of Cape Town who coordinated the medical evaluation system for the Asbestos Relief Trust.

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