Silicosis Settlement Becomes Effective
The Occupational Lung Disease Working Group – representing African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater – and Richard Spoor Inc, Abrahams Kiewitz Inc and the Legal Resources Centre representing the claimants, reached this historic settlement after almost five years of negotiations.
On 26 July 2019 a full bench of the Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg, of the High Court, approved the settlement agreement reached by the parties, but before the agreement could become effective, class members were given the right to opt out of the agreement if they so wished. The 90-day opt out period ended on 24 November 2019. The opt out submissions underwent an independent audit. The outcome was that only three class members chose to opt out, indicating that the support of class members for the settlement is almost entirely positive.
The agreement provides meaningful compensation to all eligible gold mineworkers (or their dependants) suffering from silicosis and/or who contracted work-related tuberculosis.
Eligibility is based on a mineworker having worked for a mine owned or managed by any of the companies that are party to the settlement at any time between 12 March 1965 and 10 December 2019.
Now that the agreement is unconditional, the Tshiamiso Trust, which will oversee the processing of claims and payment of benefits to those eligible, was registered on 28 November 2019 and the appointment of the full Board of Trustees is underway. Tshiamiso is a Setswana word meaning “to make good” or “to correct”.
Further details on the establishment of the Trust and how potential beneficiaries can establish whether they might be eligible for compensation under the Trust and, if they are potentially eligible, how to go about establishing a claim, will be made in due course.
Details of the silicosis settlement can be found on the website: www.silicosissettlement.co.za.