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Committee commends department’s efforts to help former mine workers

Committee commends department’s efforts to help former mine workers

The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources has commended the Department for establishing two one-stop centres to diagnose and treat silicosis and other mining-related diseases on former mine workers. The centres were established in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, and Carletonville, Gauteng. 

“We welcome these centres, but for us their impact would be seen through successful claims of occupational diseases. It is an urgent matter considering that many former mine workers die even before they receive claims, leaving their families destitute,” said Sahlulele Luzipo, Committee Chairperson.

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), together with Prof Rodney Ehrlich of the University of Cape Town, briefed the Committee on Wednesday about cases of former mine workers who developed silicosis disease, but were not properly compensated.

DMR Deputy Minister, Godfrey Oliphant, told the Committee that his department’s target was to conclude all the outstanding claims by the end of 2017. He also said the department was planning to integrate the centres into existing health facilities that are close to these centres.

“In the current financial year alone (2015/16), the DMR in collaboration with the Department of Health and Department of Labour, will open two more centres in Burgersfort, Limpopo and Kuruman in the Northern Cape.

“Additional centres would be opened outside the country in Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland in the same financial year,” said Oliphant.

Although welcoming efforts by the DMR to establish one-stop centres, Luzipo acknowledged that it was beyond the department’s control to fast-track compensations.

“In light of the fact that compensations of this nature were administered under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (ODMWA), which falls under the Department of Health, we understand that somehow the DMR was limited in the process,” he said. 


CAPTION: Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant IMAGE sourced from enca.com