Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has praised the North West Province for registering massive progress in the provincial department’s endeavour to trace and track ex-mineworkers who left work without claiming their benefits. Accompanied by the North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha at Westvaal Hospital, the Deputy Minister found out that a total of 20 798 ex-mine workers were successfully traced, with 2669 claims processed and paid a combined figure of R76.9 million. All this was achieved between August 2022 when the project was launched and the end of 2023.

The North West Province ex-mineworkers compensation project was launched by the Deputy Minister of Health, Premier of North West Province and the MEC for Health in August 2022.

The aim of the intervention is 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. 

Speaking at Westvaal Hospital in Orkney and after receiving a report and assessment of the center, the Deputy Health Minister, Dhlomo congratulated the North West Province, the provincial health department and all stakeholders including the Mining Council and the interim Ex-Mineworkers leadership structure for the commitment shown in tracing deserving ex-mine workers. 

“The province and the Department has done extremely well if you consider that between 2017 and 2021, the total value of the payouts were ranging 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 Deputy Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo

All stakeholders in attendance immediately convened to discuss strategies for accelerated tracing and tracking. The target is all Ex-mineworkers who are estimated at 168,000 and their beneficiaries who reside in the North West Province.  

As stakeholders deliberated on ways of improving the project output, MEC Madoda Sambatha made a commitment to integrate the Ex-mineworkers programme in the HAST programme of the Department. “We already have community health workers who are doing a 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”, said MEC Sambatha. 

The Ex-Mineworkers Council Interim Provincial Secretary, Mr Mr Tana Mahlophe suggested the use of two ex-mineworkers per region who can be contracted for a short period to assist in tracing deserving ex-mineworkers while the Mineral Council of South Africa committed to assist should this option be implemented.

Meanwhile the Department of Health has committed to ensure that all ex-mineworkers centers in the four districts remain operational and accessible to all ex-mineworkers. The centres are: Westvaal Hospital for Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, Old Vryburg Hospital for Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District, Mahikeng Provincial Hospital for Ngaka Modiri Molema and Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital in Bojanala District. 

MEC Sambatha concluded the deliberations by assuring stakeholders that the Department is committed to conclude outreach in the remaining districts between March and May 2024 as this will raise awareness to ex-mineworkers especially those in deep rural areas who might not be aware of the project.

All the key stakeholders in the projects were highlighted as essential for its success and they include the Provincial Leadership, Local government structures, the Minerals Council SA, TEBA Bank, the National Department of Health MBOD/CCOD, XDS call centre, IP Capital, Rand Mutual / CCMS, Tshiamiso Trust and the Traditional Leadership.  They will be consulted throughout all the project implementation phases to ensure its success. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.

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