R1.5 million paid out to sick miners
These payments were done by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Following growing criticism by trade unions that the government is ignoring the plight of sick mine workers, the government assured the public that progress is being made in this field.
Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said this week that up until now, payment has been made by the Unemployment Insurance Fund to 343 sick miners.
It has been estimated that the mining industry is the cause for 700,000 cases of TB in Southern Africa each year, and trade unions have blamed the government for dragging their heels over compensation.
Advocacy groups claim that many miners with lung disease die before they see a cent of their compensation claims.
Mdladlana said that so far, R1.5 million has been processed by the UIF.
"In addition to this, 751 former mineworkers received R2 million from the Department of Health's Commission for Compensation of Occupational Diseases (CCOD), while Rand Mutual has already investigated 1000 claims out of 18,500, received as of last month," said the Labour Minister.
The compensation process faces a number of obstacles, including the use of old identity documents.
"The use of the old 'dompas' system, as well as banking verification failures have been identified as some of the challenges retarding the process," admitted Mdladlana.
An advocacy worker focusing on claims for the mining industry said that "the process of assessing compensation claims for mineworkers is slow and extremely bureaucratic."
"We have realized that most ex-workers die before being compensated," said a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers, Lesiba Seshoka.