Tshiamiso Trust reaches R1.5bn payout milestone

3rd April 2024 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

Tshiamiso Trust reaches R1.5bn payout milestone

Tshiamiso CEO Dr Munyadziwa Kwinda

The Tshiamiso Trust, which was established to disburse compensation funds to mineworkers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) while employed by certain companies in South Africa’s gold mining sector, has disbursed R1.5-billion to claimants since it began processing claims in 2021.

The trust has paid out 16 417 claims, the majority of which are for persons based in Lesotho, followed by the Eastern Cape.

Lesotho-based claimants, making up 44% of the total that has been paid out, have received R658-million for 7 411 eligible claims made, while 4 476 claims valued at R434-million have been paid to Eastern Cape-based claimants.

The trust has expanded its services to assist claimants by setting up Benefit Medical Examinations (BMEs) across Eswatini and Mozambique, which constitute the bulk of the remainder of the trust’s disbursements, with Botswana being the next focus area.

Tshiamiso is also advancing discussions to expand its services to Zimbabwe and to Malawi.

The largest portion of payments having been made is allocated to silicosis Class 1 claimants, accounting for 69% of total payments, followed by silicosis Class 2 claimants at 13%.

Of the total payment value, 98% has been allocated to living mineworkers or former mineworkers with silicosis who had BMEs conducted by the trust’s accredited practitioners.

Tshiamiso CEO Dr Munyadziwa Kwinda comments that, in the trust’s first three years of operation, only 29% of claimants who have lodged claims have been found to have a compensable disease.

“Notably, this percentage is not necessarily indicative of the total number of mineworkers and former mineworkers with occupational lung disease, since the trust deed excludes mineworkers who did not work at any of the qualifying mines in the qualifying periods listed in the trust deed, as well as those that do not meet the criteria for eligibility.”

The trust was established to manage compensation following a class action settlement agreement between claimant attorneys and mining companies African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater and Gold Fields.

The companies have, in aggregate, provided for about R5-billion that is expected to be paid in benefits and to fund the costs of the trust.

Some of the criteria for eligibility to claim include current and former mineworkers across Southern Africa with permanent impairment owing to silicosis or work-related TB, or their dependants, where the mineworkers have passed away.

A mineworker must have carried out risk work at one of the qualifying gold mines between March 12, 1965 and December 10, 2019.

The gold mining sector in South Africa has employed more than 1.3-million people. Of that, about half, or 630 000 people, have worked on mines that are party to this trust, in the period that the trust covers.


Kwinda adds that progress remains slow for a significant number of claims for deceased mineworkers, living mineworkers seeking compensation for TB and claims reliant on a prior Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases certificate.

Elaborating on these challenges, Kwinda says the trust deed requires silicosis or pulmonary TB to be stated as the primary cause of death on an official death certificate or post-mortem report.

In most cases across the Southern Africa Development Community region, the medical cause of death is not included on official death certificates issued to families.

Further, autopsies performed by the National Institute for Occupational Health only assess the cardio-respiratory organs and cannot necessarily determine the primary cause of death.

Kwinda adds that a significant number of claimants become unreachable using the contact details provided on the claim, which significantly delays progress and contributes to the time it takes to process claims, with many failing to progress to the stage where the trust books a BME.

As the trust nears the halfway mark of its lifespan, or year six of 12, it is hard-pressed to implement measures aimed at enhancing efficiencies in claims processing times and resource allocation, as well as more effectively managing claimants’ expectations from the start of the claims process.

To this end, the trust has introduced additional steps for medical screening and to ensure claimants provide all necessary documentation upon lodging a claim.

The trust will introduce more measures informed by mining data to better target eligible claimants.

Kwinda says that, at the core of the Tshiamiso Trust, lies the commitment to make good and bring positive change in the lives of claimants by compensating all eligible claims.