Money from the silicosis settlement is not fixed

 

 

The R5 billion silicosis settlement approved by the South Gauteng High Court last week Friday is not a finite amount and can increase depending on the number of claims received, attorneys involved in the case said on Monday at a media briefing at Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown.

“A lot of settlements are often about the amount without knowing how many claims there may be. This is different because it is not about the amount, it is about the settlement amount per claimant — so that means its open-ended — because we are not sure how many claims there are,” said Graham Briggs, chair of the Occupational Lung Diseases (OLD) working group.

The case spans from 2012 when Richard Spoor Attorneys, Abrahams Kiewitz incorporated and the Legal Resource Centre brought a class action against a number of gold mining companies to get compensation for goldmine workers exposed to silica dust and who got sick from either silicosis or tuberculosis

The settlement will give current and ex gold mineworkers an opportunity to receive a medical examination and much-needed compensation for those eligible claimants suffering from silicosis, the lawyers said.

This means goldmine workers or their dependants, if the mineworker has passed away, might be eligible for compensation if the mineworker suffered from silicosis or certain types of tuberculosis contracted at work at certain gold mines any time after March 12, 1965.

Miners affected are eligible to get R10 000 to R500 000, depending on the nature and the severity of the disease.

“There is no maximum and there is also no minimum — so the guarantees of R5 billion are regarded by both sides as being the reasonable estimate of what the ultimate liability might be,” said Micheal Murray of the OLD working group.

“So it’s possible that it could be more than that and possible that it could be less than that, but anything above that, the companies will remain liable for that [the amount]”.

Six gold miners African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwaters along with the claimants attorneys will set up the Tshiamiso trust which will make sure qualifying miners get compensation.

Briggs said conditions for curbing silicosis on the mines have improved in recent years. He says for many years it has been a problem to deal with silicosis because of the way dust is liberated differs from mine to mine.

Briggs said some dust gets released through a scraping process, others through ventilation or blasting.

He says once this was understood, miners were able to locate and prevent dust build-up.

“The prevention now is different from one mine to the other, based on the factual scientific evidence they have received,” he added. 

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe is a financial trainee journalist at the Mail & Guardian
Advertisting

South Africa has been junked

Treasury says the credit ratings downgrade “could not have come at a worse time”, as country enters a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown with little money saved up

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories