The Tshiamiso Trust was founded in terms of the class action settlement agreement concluded between six mining companies, some of their affiliates, the claimants’ representatives and the claimants’ attorneys.
The agreement provides for meaningful compensation for eligible gold mineworkers who carried out risk work at the participating gold mines at any time between 12 March 1965 and 10 December 2019 and were exposed to silica dust and have contracted silicosis or tuberculosis, or dependants of such gold mineworkers who have since passed away.
The Trust and the seven nominated trustees were all registered by the Masters’ office of the High Court by 6 February 2020. The trustees would like at this stage to provide information on progress towards the full establishment of the Trust and its processes.
It is their intention to reach the point where claims can be lodged and assessed, and compensation benefits paid to eligible claimants as soon as possible.
The Trustees are:
Professor May Hermanus - Chairperson
Dr Sophia Kisting-Cairncross
Dr Barry Kistnasamy
Ms Janet Love
Ms Kgomotso Molebatsi
Mr Michael Murray
Mr Abre van Vuuren
The lodging, assessment, certification and payment of compensation benefits on a large scale will become possible only once the organisation and systems of the Trust have been established. The structures of the Trust, and the drafting of the policies, procedures and processes, including the recruitment process of staff and service providers are close to finalisation. The necessary advertisements and appointments will follow.
The Trust Deed emphasises the importance of cooperating with the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD), and the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD), which administer the state compensation system, and the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH). In this regard, cooperation agreements are under discussion which will enhance the functioning of the Trust.
A crucial avenue of work is the development of a claims management information technology (IT) system. This work is underway and will initially be implemented at specific sites in selected locations as part of a pilot to test its efficiency and to ensure that it serves the needs of claimants and the Trust. The pilot phase of the system is planned for the end of June 2020. Additional sites will be established over time.
In accordance with the settlement agreement the databases of the participating mining companies, the claimants’ attorneys and other relevant sources have been combined and given to the Trust. This will assist the Trust in identifying eligible claimants.
At as early a stage as possible, the Trust hopes to be able to use this combined database to identify and process the first claimants through the Trust’s compensation claims management system. Other claimants should please be assured that work on their claims will proceed as quickly as possible.
The Trust plans to use user-friendly communication tools to enable claimants to check for themselves whether there is adequate information already available to the Trust to support a potential claim, and to receive information on where to formally lodge the claim and go for medical assessments, if required.
Additional application lodging and medical assessment sites will be publicised as they are organised.
The trustees would like to strongly emphasise to potential claimants that they do not need to pay anybody to lodge a claim. While the costs of transport to lodgement offices are not covered by the Trust, the Trust will make every effort to establish offices in centres accessible to potential claimants.
The trustees wish to emphasise that, according to the settlement agreement, the payment of benefits is limited to eligible members of the classes and that the value of the awards depends on the severity of the disease and other further terms of the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement and the Trust Deed is available at https://www.silicosissettlement.co.za/resources/court-judgement-and-settlement-agreement
The trustees ask for patience while the operations of the Trust are established. We will make further announcements as the establishment of the Trust processes progresses.
Some further information about the settlement agreement may be found through the settlement call centre on 0801 000 240 or at www.silicosissettlement.co.za
You do not need to pay anybody to help you register or lodge a claim for the silicosis and tuberculosis settlement benefits.
There are many people out there who are making promises to people that they can get them compensation from the Trust and taking money from them, when they have no way to make that happen. These people are not officials of the Trust and are not authorised by the Trust to handle claims. Only the Trust’s officials are authorised by the settlement agreement to help process claims and determine if a claim meets the criteria for compensation.
Those who dishonestly make promises of payment from the settlement fund in order to persuade people to pay them money are not authorised to do so by the settlement agreement and are not officials of the Trust. They will be reported to the police authorities.
Professor May Hermanus
For further information contact:
Alan Fine or Katherine Bester
T: 011 880 3924
M: 083 250 0757 or 083 441 0671