Botswana Labour Migrants Association and its members from all the four corners of Botswana, are elated at the news of the finalization of the TB/Silicosis class action, by way of a settlement agreement between mineworkers and the mining companies. The settlement ceremony which was held on the 3 May 2018 in South Africa, was groundbreaking and a vindication of the dues, sweat and rights of ex-miners in the region, their spouses and children and especially the efforts of the Association and its leadership..
The class suit began with DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights in 2012, with the view of obtaining compensation for those miners who had contracted silicosis and having worked for gold mining companies in South Africa for a period of 10 -15 years. The outcome of this project was the birth of BoLAMA – Botswana Labour Migrants Association. Upon formation, the organization dealt with issues of ex-mineworkers holistically, including access to occupational lung compensation through state funded schemes and supporting the class suit. BoLAMA is predominantly comprised of ex-miners and beneficiaries who are party to the class suit.
Parties agreed to a R-5 billion settlement which will be disbursed as follow;.
• Those who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis compensation will start at 70 000 – 500 000 depending on the extent of the lung impairment and degree of the disease.
• Tuberculosis compensation will start at 50 000 to 100 000 depending on the number of years worked and degree of tuberculosis (1st or 2nd degree).
• Historical Tuberculosis will also be compensated, 10 000, with the eligible claimant having worked from 1 March 1965 to 28 February 1994.
• In December of 2016 BoLAMA coordinated country activities, tracking and tracing ex-miners for compensation as per the government compensation scheme. The class action in no way disqualifies those who might benefit from the government scheme from benefitting from the class action. The effect is that ex-miners will get double compensation from government and settlement.
BoLAMA the only known ex-miners association in Botswana working holistically on issues of social protection and post-employment management would like to call on all former mineworkers and their beneficiaries to come and register with BoLAMA. Our focal persons in the Districts will be registering those who have not had the chance to register. BoLAMA will be working with DITSHWANELO and supporting all processes required to ensure access and facilitation of these disbursements.
BoLAMA calls upon the Government of Botswana to establish an inter-ministerial committee comprising of key Ministries, Health, Labour, Finance, Local Government and BoLAMA to address the plight of ex-miners as per recommendations of the 2017 Regional Widows Forum in the Mining Sector.
Botswana Labour Migrants Association