100 signatures reached
To: President Ramaphosa, the Ministers of Health and Labour, Members of Parliament, CEO’s of Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, African Rainbow Minerals, Sibanye Stillwater and TEBA
Gold miners are dying of silicosis and TB while waiting for compensation, demand action
We call on you to enforce laws protecting miners against lung diseases, to speedily pay just compensation to all eligible ex-gold miners and their families and to change current laws governing compensation so that ex-gold miners and their families from across southern Africa can access compensation. Further we call on you to reform the currently dysfunctional Compensation Commission and the Medical Bureau of Occupational Diseases (MBOD) so that ill miners are speedily certified and paid out. We call on the to be established Silicosis Trust to pay compensation to eligible miners and their families speedily and for all gold mining companies and The Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) to release all necessary resources and data required to trace, track, certify and compensate all eligible sick miners and their families.
Why is this important?
South Africa’s wealthy and privileged owe a direct debt to those whose lives paid for the gold industry on which the South African economy was built. For 120 years, mining companies and the South African State have failed to protect miners from across southern Africa from harmful conditions resulting in lung disease.
Although protective laws have been in place since 1903, mining companies have not been held accountable for breaking these laws. The gold industry also failed to provide adequate medical care for miners who have become sick. Sick miners have been sent home to die in their rural communities and costs are shouldered by wives and families.
Current laws governing compensation make it very difficult for ex-miners living in South Africa and outside the borders of South Africa to access compensation. The Medical Bureau of Occupational Diseases (MBOD) and the Compensation Commission who are tasked with certifying and compensating sick miners are in a shameful state of dysfunctionality with huge backlogs of unprocessed applications and unpaid compensation awards. The majority of gold miners suffering from lung diseases have not been compensated from the beginnings of gold mining up to the present.
To demand just compensation, miners initiated a class action court case against the gold mining companies in 2004. In the 2018 out of court settlement of this class action gold mining companies agreed to set aside R5 billion for compensation claims over the next 12 years. However, the dismal track record of actual payments made by similar out of court settlements in the past requires that society demands that this money be paid quickly and fairly.
While the out-of-court settlement may be considered a victory, it is only the beginning of a struggle for justice which demands YOUR support.