By Thoboloko Nts’onyane

MASERU – The Tshiamiso Trust has announced that it has settled tuberculosis (TB) and silicosis claimants’ compensation of about 5 056 Basotho.

This the Trust had said in a statement last week.

“As at 27 February 2023, 40,746 claims had been lodged in Lesotho and 17,742 Benefit Medical Examinations (BMEs) had been conducted.

“5,056 Basotho claimants have received their compensation, amounting to R433.9 [million]. This makes up 43% of all Tshiamiso Trist claims paid,” reads the Tshiamiso Trust statement.

The compensation amounts are reported to be from M10 000 to just over M534 000 and most are said to range in the north of M74 000.

In five countries in which the Trust has a presence, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Mozambique, there are over 111 000 claims lodgements that have been received.

Tshiamiso Trust also reported that it has settled in excess of over M1 billion, of the over 11 316 eligible TB ane silicosis claims.

The Trust further says: “The history of silicosis in South Africa dates from the late 1880s when gold mining began. The gold was locked in quartz veins, a type of rock that also contains high concentrations of silica. Crystalised silica particles can cause significant respiratory damage if inhaled.

“In the earlier days of gold mining, dust control, the use of personal protective equipment, and health and safety standards were not as advanced as they are today.

“Silicosis began to manifest amongst the mining workforce very early in the history of gold mining on the Witwatersrand.”

According to the Trust, people who are eligible for compensation are mine workers with permanent lung damage from silicosis or TB and thus they should have contracted from doing “risk” at one of the qualifying mines for compensation of its workers in South Africa.

In the case where a miner is deceased, their beneficiaries are to produce the medical records stating that the deceased died from TB within a year period of leaving the mine and must have passed on before December 10, 2019. Also, there should be evidence that a miner had contracted silicosis or died from silicosis if it’s a silicosis claim.

The Tshiamiso Trust is a result of a class action suit, instituted in South Africa against the six mining companies Anglo American, African Rainbow Minerals, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony, and Sibanye Stillwater.

“The Trust was established through a no-fault settlement agreement which, through the associated Trust Deed, provides for the payment of claims to eligible gold mineworkers.”

The Trust had first started to process the claims from February 15, 2021.

The claim services are rendered in all districts save for Thaba-Tseka.

“The Trust is looking at expanding service in Lesotho to teach the underserviced (sic) community. This includes, amongst other things, a two-week roadshow led by the Mineworkers Provident Fund in May 2023,” reads the trust statement.

It was established in February 2020 and is expected to run for 12 years.