- A massive programme has been rolled out for mineworkers who contracted tuberculosis or silicosis between March 1965 and December 2019.
- The countrywide programme kicks off in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
- The health department is calling on all former mineworkers or their dependants to visit lodgement sites in the areas where they live.
The Department of Health has rolled out a massive programme for mineworkers who contracted tuberculosis (TB) or silicosis disease while working for certain mines between March 1965 and December 2019.
The programme is expected to run from Monday until 4 February, and will include screening, verification, medical examinations and payment benefits for eligible former mineworkers.
The department said in a statement that the countrywide programme would kick off in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal, before moving to other provinces.
It is calling on all former mineworkers or their dependants to visit lodgement sites in the areas they live in.
Claimants are urged to bring along relevant documents, such as a valid South African ID or SADC passport, industry card, service records from the mine they worked at, any available medical records, a death certificate in the case of a deceased mineworker and an autopsy report, if available.
News24 reported in 2019 that South Africa's mining industry had recorded a 3% decrease in the number of occupational diseases reported nationally in 2017, compared to those reported during the previous year.
Mineworkers are at a higher risk of contracting TB due to prolonged exposure to silica dust, poor living conditions, and a high HIV prevalence in mining communities.
"The compensation amount will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the permanent respiratory impairment suffered by the mineworkers, and their employment history at qualifying and non-qualifying mines."
The department added that claimants would only be eligible if the main cause of the mineworker's death is attributed to silicosis or TB, or if there is an approved Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA) certificate or other exceptions.