The recent endorsement of a 357-million-dollar silicosis fund by a South African High Court will see over 38 000 emaSwati getting a share of the money.
These include ex-miners who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis while working in the South African mines from 1965 and their beneficiaries, according to Vama Jele, a representative of one of the local ex-miners’ associations.
Silicosis is a lung fibrosis caused by the inhalation of dust containing silica, while tuberculosis is a bacterial infection of the lung most of the time.
The high court ruling, which was delivered two weeks ago, came at a time when local ex-miners’ association were registering surviving ex-miners and sending them to government medical doctors for examination and diagnosis of the disease.
“The registration process started in 2012 but we still have quite a number of ex-miners who have not been reached yet,” Jele said.
The six mining companies that are paying out the collective 357.15 million dollars towards the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) are AngloGold Ashanti, African Rainbow Minerals, Gold Fields, Anglo American SA and Harmony and Sibanye Stillwater.