About R30 billion is waiting to be claimed by miners, the majority of whom are ex-mineworkers, Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Godfrey Oliphant has announced.
He said several ex-miners, who were partly employed under the legacy of the migrant labour system, had accessed funds.
“These are substantial sums that would do a lot to rejuvenate rural economies and labour-sending areas where the mineworkers come from – within South Africa and in neighbouring countries,” he told the media during a press briefing in Pretoria on Friday. Since 2013, about 14 000 former mineworkers received compensation benefits amounting to R40 million, and 8 000 received Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits amounting to R14 million.
One of the reasons for unclaimed funds, however, was that the majority of miners were living in rural areas and were unaware they were able to claim benefits from the labour and health departments.
In some cases they were aware of the fund, but many did not have proof of address and some only had a postal box address.
Migrant workers had also returned to their countries, such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique.
Oliphant said in May last year that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, trade unions and the Chamber of Mines launched an operation to pay out R1.5 billion to about 103 000 ex-mineworkers with unclaimed compensation benefits.