Silicosis settlement agreement now effective

11th February 2020 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Creamer Media Online Writer

A silicosis settlement reached between The Occupational Lung Disease Working Group and the Legal Resources Centre has become effective.

The settlement followed almost five years of negotiations between the working group – representing miners African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater – and the centre, which represents the claimants.

The Johannesburg High Court in July last year 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 November 24 last year, following which the opt-out submissions were subjected to an independent audit.

The subsequent 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 for meaningful compensation to all eligible gold mine workers, or their dependants, suffering from silicosis and those who contracted work-related tuberculosis.

The eligibility for compensation is based on a mineworker having worked for a mine owned or managed by the miners that are party to the settlement between March 12, 1965, and December 10, 2019.

Now that the agreement is unconditional, the working group said in a statement on Tuesday that the Tshiamiso Trust can undergo board appointments.

The trust was registered by the working group on November 28 last year to oversee the processing of claims and payment of benefits to those eligible.