Malawian mineworkers and their families are owed over R18 million (about K1.1 billion) in compensation and social security funds by various South African social security and compensation institutions, Weekend Nation has learnt.
Minister of Sports, Labour and Manpower Development Henry Mussa said in an interview yesterday that the Malawi government is at an advanced stage to claim the money.
“We assessed about 33 000 forms from people who are eligible to access the funds and submitted them to the South African government to verify if these people were indeed members of the ex-miners scheme.”
Mussa said it is not all ex-miners who are eligible to receive the funds.
The money is part of the K242 billion (R5.7 billion) various South African social security firms owe mine workers and their families in the Sadc region, according to a new study by the Southern Africa Trust (SAT) done in 2013.
“Unclaimed funds have not been claimed by former mineworkers that are currently being held in various South African social security and compensation institutions include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland,” says the study released on Wednesday in Johannesburg.
The report says more than K17.6 billion (R400 million) has since been paid, but additional funds and interest have accrued with little change in the amounts owed.
The study provides an overview of the challenges of ex-miners and beneficiaries to access their benefits.
SAT executive director Bhekinkosi Moyo has since called on key countries in southern Africa to address the challenges facing beneficiaries to access these benefits.
“The Southern Africa Trust is calling for renewed urgency in disbursing billions of rands in unpaid compensation to mineworkers and their families in southern Africa,” said Moyo, adding that the unclaimed benefits remain significant.
He has said challenges that have contributed to the experiences by the beneficiaries ranged from the long and cumbersome administrative and bureaucratic claiming procedures, the lack of information, capacity and resources to complete the requirements.
Moyo has since urged countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland to make necessary efforts to claim the money as the funds have not been claimed by former mineworkers and dependents from South African government.
SAT is a regional organisation that supports processes that facilitate citizens participation in policy dialogue with a regional impact on poverty. n