‘No policy on payment of ex-miners’ benefits’



MASERU – There is no policy that regulates how ex-miners’ social security benefits should be paid. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the Ex-Miners Association of Lesotho Executive Director, Rantšo Mantsi, said the challenges facing ex-miners seem to have escalated more than before. He said the first one is that there is no policy in Lesotho that regulates how ex-miners should be paid their benefits and that there is no statutory law that guides and prevents any unlawful activities done to ex-miners. “We suspect there is money laundering happening in terms of funds of ex-miners which can lead to human trafficking of people who are asked to cross to South Africa to receive their benefits.

“We tried by all means to put an end to all those by writing to the Parliament Portfolio Committee on the Prime Minister’s Ministries and Department, Governing, Foreign Relations and Information Cluster on March 15, 2023. “We wrote the letter to the Chairperson of the Committee Kobeli Letlailana requesting that there be a portfolio committee in parliament which deals with issues of ex-miners. Many ex-miners are disadvantaged by the slow pace of their benefits’ disbursement. We are saying to date there is not even a radio programme created by government to see to it that the nation is informed of this issues,” he said.

Mantsi added that the ex-miners are given their benefits without any financial literacy training which is very dangerous. He said they had a draft of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between Tshiamiso and the government of Lesotho which will enable the government or anyone intending to assist ex-miners to get their benefits through the right procedure. He said to date widows still go everywhere they can to seek assistance on how they can make access their late spouses’ benefits yet they do not take the right documents.

Mantsi said there are people who are supposed to be paid their benefits dating as far back as 1968 to date. He added that they have taken a massive move and have been working with Government Spokesperson Thabo Sekonyela on the issue and he is positive that by end of next month they would have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), which includes Tshiamiso Trust, Ex-Miners Association and Government of Lesotho which is dated September 20, 2022, proposes to properly domesticate the object of the Trust Deed which is Tshiamiso. The general obligations of the memorandum are that over and above the binding nature of the memorandum, the parties shall act in good faith and shall use their best endeavours to achieve the purpose and give effect to the terms of the memorandum and trust deed. They also agreed that the parties hereby acknowledge and agree that they shall each respectively perform all acts and execute all documents as reasonably required to give effect to terms of the memorandum and the trust deed.

The roles and responsibilities of Tshiamiso Trust include that it shall have the following obligations in relation to the project which include to; contract locals with relevant knowledge of and relationship with former and current miners to track and trace potential claimants, to pay fee for services for all Benefit Medical Examinations (BMEs) done through both public and private facilities, and establish an office in Lesotho to enable eligible claimants to access services easily for the achievement of the object of the Trust Deed, to mention a few.

The Tshiamiso Trust manages thousands of claims for mineworkers eligible for compensation due to contracting TB or silicosis from working in certain gold mines during specific periods between March 12, 1965 and December 10, 2019.

Ex-Miners Association was registered legally in 2005 and its mandate was to focus more on people who worked in the mines but were no longer working. Ex-miners Association offices will be temporarily hosted at the BNP Centre until renovations are completed at their old offices.

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