Answer to a question from a reader

How can former miners access unpaid benefits?

The short answer

Here is how silicosis claimants can access unpaid benefits.

The whole question

My uncle who worked in the Mines during late 1970s. I tried to assist him to get his benefits, but failed. How can he do this?

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking how you can help your uncle who worked in the mines during the late 70s to get his benefits.

You don’t say whether the benefits your uncle would be applying are for illness after contracting either silicosis or TB during his work on the mines. If it is illness benefits he is applying for, he could qualify if he became ill as a result of working at any of the following mines from 1965: African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwaters.

These mines reached a settlement in July 2019 to pay illness benefits to miners, which will be administered by the Tshiamiso Trust set up by the mines and the lawyers representing the miners. The settlement covers all mineworkers from 1965 who became ill from silicosis or TB while working for the mines, and claims for compensation can be made for the next twelve years. This is because it can take years for the disease to incubate.

The miners can be awarded an amount ranging from R10,000 to R500,000 depending on the disease and the severity of it. If a miner died as a result of silicosis or TB his dependents are also eligible to claim compensation. The money awarded will be paid out in a lump sum and the mines have to see that the mineworkers are helped to manage their money.

To start the process, your uncle must register as a claimant:

1. He can phone the call centre at 080 1000 240 or 0800 110 110 and they will help him to fill out a register form.
2. He can send a ‘please call me’ to 072 557 8077 and the call centre will call him back.
3. He can register on the website www.silicosissettlement.co.za
4. He can go to his local TEBA office and they will help him to fill out a V12 form.

The following steps are a summary of detailed information from a poster circulated to mines to help mineworkers claim compensation. Every step is free – no one should pay for any of the following steps:

Step 1:
Your uncle must go for a BENEFIT MEDICAL EXAMINATION (BME) at the clinic or hospital of the mine or hospitals contracted to do this or a One Stop Centres. He must take his ID and record of service, which can be a TEBA contract, or a contract signed with the mine indicating his dates of service, and any medical records he has indicating that he had silicosis or TB.

Step 2:
The people who examined your uncle will submit a BME report, an application for benefits, a chest Xray, lung function tests, sputum results and microscopy report to the Certification Committee. The Certification Committee are doctors appointed to look at all the evidence and decide if your uncle has a lung disease that he can be compensated for.

Step 3:
He must make sure he has all the forms he needs. He can get them from the clinic or HR at the mine, or TEBA, or the One Stop Centres. The forms can also be downloaded at www.oldcollab.co.za/how-to-claim.

There are separate GW24/80 forms for silicosis and for TB. He must fill in all the details on the GW24/80 and the GW24/17 forms but he must not sign them: he must take the forms, his ID and a copy of his ID to the nearest police station where the police must stamp and certify his ID copy and his signature on the GW24/80 form. They must take his fingerprints on the GW24/17 form and stamp and sign that as well.

He must go to the bank with the completed and signed V47 form and get it stamped and signed by the bank. He must also get a bank account statement signed by the bank which he must attach to the V47 form.

He must find his Record of Service and Pay Advice – which can be a stamped and signed TEBA record, or a Certificate of Service stamped and signed by the employer or official documents from the employer with the details of the period, the start and end dates and any positions he occupied at that time. He only needs one.
If he is certified for TB, the mine must calculate his loss of earnings for the period of 6 months after he was certified for TB on page 2 of the TB GW24/80 form.

Once he’s got all these documents he can submit the claim.

STEP 4:
He can post it to P.O. Box 4584, Johannesburg, or
He can fax it to 011 403 1346 or
He can drop it off at 144 De Korte Street, Braamfontein.

If your uncle is not part of the silicosis case, he may still be able to claim unpaid benefits. The Unclaimed Benefits Campaign (UBC) has been doing a lot of organising for former mineworkers, alongside Open Secrets. Thomas Malakotse, a member of the UBC steering committee, can be contacted at thomasmalokotsa@gmail.com.

Answered on Feb. 5, 2020, 3:50 p.m.

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