Silicosis trust says has already paid out R166m

3rd September 2019

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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The Q(h)ubeka Trust has so far paid out R166-million to 1 626 qualifying beneficiaries and dependants since its inception in March 2016.

The trust was formed to allocate funds to silicosis-affected mineworkers in a legal settlement between attorneys representing former gold mineworkers and Anglo American South Africa and AngloGold Ashanti.

The trust was named in honour of the thousands of claimants who had struggled for decades without proper compensation from mining companies.

The trust is processing the claims of a closed list of 4 365 named claimants, of which about 3 500 have been referred for medical assessments. Of these 3 500 claimants, more than half have been determined to be suffering from silicosis and its effects.

Q(h)ubeka chairperson Dr Sophia Kisting-Cairncross said in a statement on Tuesday that the processing claims of deceased claimants, which represent around 20% of all claimants, continues to be a challenge because of the lack of medical records.

The Q(h)ubeka Trust is working with specialists to develop an instrument that can determine whether, in the absence of medical records, a claimant who died may have had silicosis.

According to Kisting-Cairncross, the medical process was more complex and more difficult than initially envisaged.

“The extensive presence of tuberculosis (TB) was startling. Trustees and medical specialists had to grapple with TB and its impact on the diagnosis of silicosis. TB scarring often hides the presence of silicosis, making diagnosis difficult, time-consuming and costly, especially in instances where computerised tomography scans became necessary.

To overcome this challenge, the trustees coordinated yearly workshops with Consultative Occupational Medical Panel members, as well as medical advisers, to discuss these challenges and develop a standardised approach for the assessment of claims.

Invalid contact details and addresses had also slowed down the work of compensating qualifying claimants – and the families of deceased qualifying claimants – for their illnesses.

“Consequently, the trustees had to embark on extensive tracing and tracking programmes to find claimants,” said Kisting-Cairncross, adding that the trust remains committed to assisting those who have felt the devastating effects of the debilitating disease.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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