2018-04-29

Ex-mineworkers compensated for lung diseases

A TOTAL of 1 203 payments were made in March 2018, amounting to R18.2 million, to compensate ex-mineworkers, including many from the Northern Cape, for occupational lung diseases.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation said in a statement that this represented the highest number of payments in a month since the commencement of the tracking and tracing process.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the Special Presidential Package for the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities and Labour-Sending Areas was established in 2012, in accordance with the 2012 Social Accord signed by organised labour, business and government.
“From April 2015 to March 2016, some 1 766 claimants were paid a total of R79 million, with the bulk of payments going to ex-mineworkers from labour-sending areas within South Africa.
“From April 2017 to March 2018, a total of 10 409 claimants were paid R254 million, representing an increase of about 500% in claimants paid and 200% increase in monies paid. Five years ago, an average of 2 000 claimants were paid. About R110 million went to 4 912 claimants in neighbouring countries,” the department said.
Potential claimants or their beneficiaries can call 080 1000 240 to check the status of their claims or if they need medical assessment.
“Medical assessments are provided in decentralised One-Stop Service Centres such as those in provincial hospitals in Mthatha (Eastern Cape), Carletonville (Gauteng), Burgersfort (near Limpopo and Mpumalanga) and Kuruman (Northern Cape), and in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland,” the department said.
Mobile clinics have also been used successfully in selected districts in South Africa and neighbouring countries.
“Fifteen medical doctors have been seconded by the mining companies for the Certification Committees at the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases. A web-based link to the Department of Health is available – www.health.gov.za/ccod – and provides information on accessing medical services and claims,” the department said.
Mobile clinics have also been used successfully in selected districts in South Africa and neighbouring countries.
“Fifteen medical doctors have been seconded by the mining companies for the Certification Committees at the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases. A web-based link to the Department of Health is available – www.health.gov.za/ccod – and provides information on accessing medical services and claims,” the department said.
Through co-ordination and support from the IMC – which includes the Department of Health, Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Labour and is chaired by the Minister in the Presidency – work continues to track and trace claimants of unpaid financial compensation to ex-mineworkers.
The departments are also working towards aligning the industry’s occupational health and safety policies, and the required legislative changes, to facilitate access to compensation and other benefits for ex-mineworkers.
This will also include the reorganisation of the compensation system and access to benefits for former and current mineworkers.
https://www.dfa.co.za/news/ex-mineworkers-compensated-for-lung-diseases/

2018-04-26

Victory in Transnet pension funds case

CAPE TOWN - Thousands of Transnet pensioners scored a major victory yesterday when the Constitutional Court gave them the go-ahead to recover billions of rands from the freight, rail and logistics giant as well as the Transnet Second Defined Pension Fund and the Transport Pension Fund.
The court gave Transnet and the pension funds 20 days to respond to the claim, which is estimated at R80 billion.
The ruling brought to an end an ongoing legal wrangle between Transnet, the two pension funds and the approximately 60000 former workers who took the company to court in 2013 over pension payouts.
Richard Carr, one of the pensioners and co-founder of the Transnet Pension Action Group, said the Constitutional Court's decision paved the way for the matter to go to court. Carr said the amount could be higher now.

He said Transnet had raised an exception to the pensioners’ claim in 2013 when the matter was about to be heard in court. Carr, however, said the pensioners were open to an out-of-court settlement of the matter. “Our goal is to get Transnet to pay what is due to us. Any further delay in this matter is not in our interest,” he said.
Undertaking
In their claim the pensioners argued that there was a 1989 undertaking by the parastatal’s predecessor, South African Transport Services (Sats), that they would receive the same pension benefits under a commercial entity Transnet as they did under Sats and its two pension funds.
At the time, Sats said the practice of annually increasing members’ pensions by at least 70% of the rate of inflation would continue.
“Transnet and the new pension funds kept the promise until 2002 by granting annual pension increases of about 80%, on average, of the rate of inflation. Since then, they have broken the promise,” the judgment said.
The pensioners’ case rests on three claims - that the funds increase the pension benefits by at least 70% of the rate of inflation with effect from 2003; that Transnet pay a R17.1bn plus interest “legacy debt” to the funds; and that the court render unlawful and invalid an undertaking by trustees of the Transport Fund to donate 40% of its members’ surplus to Transnet. The pensioners allege that the donation is unlawful and want Transnet to pay R309million plus interest.

https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/economy/victory-in-transnet-pension-funds-case-14657603