/ 2 September 2003

Asbestosis victims to get their money soon

The first compensation payments to 7 500 asbestosis victims in the Northern Cape were being processed, legal firm Leigh, Day and Co confirmed on Tuesday.

After years of legal wrangling, Cape plc agreed in March to pay a total of £7,5-million (about R97-million at the time) to the 7 500 South African victims.

Joyce Adams, a clerk at the British firm’s Northern Cape office, said they were currently posting letters from their head office to the 7 500 claimants.

Leigh, Day and Co earlier helped represent the claimants in their legal battle for compensation by former asbestos mine owners.

Adams said the letters informed victims of the amount of compensation for which each qualified. The letters direct them to go to their nearest branch of Absa Bank, which is administering the individual payments.

The money — paid earlier by British company Cape plc — was already available, Adams said.

As soon as a claimant had verified his banking details with Absa, his compensation would be transferred electronically into his account.

Claimants compensated by Cape plc come from Northern Cape towns such as Kuruman, Postmasburg, Danielskuil and Griekwastad.

A similar settlement agreement, for R42,5-million, was reached with the company Gencor. — Sapa