Former miners struggling to get payouts

Eastern Cape former mineworkers who had hoped to get their overdue pension, retirement funds and occupational health disease payments from former employers had a bleak festive season as many struggled to access their money.

Three months ago, Weekend Post sister paper Saturday Dispatch published 4 000 names of former workers who were expected to get their money through mining recruitment agent Teba.

The announcement by Teba was welcomed by many former mineworkers, who had hoped that finally being paid what was due to them would solve their financial woes.

The thousands of former mineworkers from the Eastern Cape, who were recruited through Teba, have for years struggled to access their money.

Some were retrenched, while others were injured while working in some of the country’s mines.

Teba released the names of 4 000 ex-miners who were eligible for some form of compensation after the Saturday Dispatch exposed the plight of the former workers, many of whom left the mines with nothing to show for their decades of hard labour in multinational mining companies.

According to the Financial Services Board, more that R40-billion remains unclaimed as many former workers didn’t know how to go about claiming the money.

Many, like Lungile Qangqa, of Mceula village outside Whittlesea, whose name appeared among the 4 000 beneficiaries, are still waiting to be compensated for their work in the mines.

His relative, Nombuyiselo Qangqa, said last week: “We’ve got nothing from the Teba company, we are struggling, he’s struggling and we had nothing for Christmas as we had hoped for a payment.”

Sambava Qavane, of Willowvale, said they had been promised they might get a payment late next year.

“I went to the Teba Butterworth offices and I was told that my name was not released yet and I must come next year, when I might get something,” Qavane said.

Meanwhile, Nosipho Tunzana, of Willowvale, who has been fighting for the ex-mineworkers to get their money, said it needed more than courage to fight the former employers to release the money.

“I’ve travelled the country to fight for my father’s money and those who are in rural areas, and I must confess that I’ve been hitting brick walls,” Tunzana said.

“No one seem to know where the R40-billion is, and those who appeared on the Teba list are struggling to access the money.”

Yesterday, Teba’s Eastern Cape head, Samuel Moeletsi, said many people had come in numbers to claim what was due to them.

“The partnership we had with the Dispatch really helped us and the poor as they came in numbers to make their claims. Many came carrying the newspaper with their names and that made it easy for us,” Moeletsi said.

However, he said they would only know next month who had been paid and how much had been paid out.

In September, Teba said they were doing their best to trace those owed money by the mining companies.

Teba said they had already paid out R300-million on different projects in rural “labour-sending” communities, ranging from pension and provident fund monies to occupational lung disease benefits.

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