Ex-Wenela workers will start receiving payments ranging from R10 000 to R50 000 per individual in compensation early next year.

This was said by a Tshiamiso Trust delegation that was sent to Zimbabwe last week.

Tshiamiso Trust was set up after ex-Wenela workers won a class-action lawsuit in the South African High Court in July 2019 to handle the compensation process.

Tshiamiso Trust chief operating officer Tina da Cruz told The Sunday Mail that each beneficiary will be paid depending on the level at which he or she had suffered from respiratory diseases. Said, Cruz:

We are delighted to be here for a positive engagement with the Government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders.

We managed to develop a roadmap that we look forward to implementing. We are expecting that shortly, within the early next calendar year, it will be fully operationalised and will be receiving applications and processing the claims of deserving claimants.

The Trust said that it is considering workers who were employed by African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye-Stillwater.

The compensation is applicable to employees who carried out risky work at the mines between March 12, 1965 and December 10, 2019, and were diagnosed with silicosis before December 2021.

Workers who contracted tuberculosis while working at the mines, or within a year of leaving the mines are also entitled to receive compensation.

Tshiamiso Trust has paid over R930 million to more than 10 000 claims from ex-workers.

Zimbabwe’s Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Permanent Secretary Simon Masanga said:

We have a database of at least 4 000 ex-Wenela mine workers who will be subject to vetting before receiving compensation.

The Government is going to set up an online registration platform, which will enable all ex-Wenela workers to register.

As Government, we are now appealing to all these ex-workers wherever they are to start compiling all the necessary documents to prove that they worked for these companies.

Affidavits are not considered as evidence in this process. Contractual documents, if they are present, will be crucial.

A mobile clinic will be available to carry out tests that will ascertain who will be benefiting.

Ex-Wenela Miners Association of Zimbabwe national spokesperson Newman Machinga said:

As an association, we are pleased with the development. We hope everyone who is entitled to the payments is going to benefit. We have been pushing for a long time to achieve this.

Ex-Wenela Miners Association of Zimbabwe chairman Rodgers Munakamwe said:

We have spent the last 42 years trying to track down unpaid pension dues deducted from their wages without their knowledge and consent.

Painful memories of labour injustices perpetrated against them are still fresh in their minds and a majority of the ex-miners contracted chronic diseases in the South African mines.

It’s sad that 25 percent of the ex-miners lost their lives due to a lack of money to seek medical attention.