The TEBA Occupational Lung Disease Benefit Outreach.
As prescribed by the Act, mining employers make a contribution to the Medical Bureau for Occupational Disease (MBOD), which in turn aids in the lifelong monitoring and surveillance of miners and ex-miners for possible compensable occupational lung diseases.
Benefit medical examinations are administered by the MBOD, which falls under the Department of Health Chief Directorate: Non-Communicable Diseases.
With regards to compensation, the Act provides for post mortem benefits (through the National Institute for Occupational Health’s Pathology Section) for miners if an occupational disease is found, even if it was not the cause of death. It also provides for lump sum benefits based on the level of impairment. All medical expenses, including follow-ups related to the treatment of the lung disease, are paid by the mine owner(s).
In April 2016, TEBA was appointed by the Chamber of Mines working in partnership with the MBOD, to trace mineworkers and their beneficiaries, to enable medical examinations and payment of occupational lung disease benefits, where relevant.
This is one of the social mining legacy issues that the mining industry seeks to address, as a matter of priority.
Mining personnel in South Africa comprise local and migrant workers from rural areas, as well as neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana.
Upon acceptance of employment, these workers often provide more than one physical address. Many of them also move around and change addresses frequently. As a result, they are often extremely difficult, if not impossible to reach. Migration has also created the socio-economic challenge of multiple households that are dependent on the mineworker.
TEBA has been serving the mining industry and its community for more than a century and has an excess of 350 000 active mining workers registered on its system at any given time. As a result, TEBA has developed the most extensive database of miners and ex-miners in the country with over 1.8 million electronic records and an estimated 10 million manual records, prior to 1983.
In addition, TEBA has an unparalleled presence and reach through its strategically located network of branches, satellite offices and representatives in mining communities across South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho.
To trace miners and ex-miners who may have compensable occupational lung diseases, TEBA had to leverage its existing contact database and reach. An outbound calling campaign was supported by SMS and community mobilisation to ensure walk-ins at the various TEBA offices.
As and when claimants were tracked down, TEBA’s officials also assisted them with the completion and submission of all the necessary documentation to fast-track the process.
For the duration of the project, from 1 April 2016 to December 2016, more than 3 100 miners and ex-miners, or their beneficiaries, were tracked down and assisted with their claims process. A number of these beneficiaries have already received their compensation, which has made a significant difference in their lives.
Based on the feedback that has been received, these funds have, for example, been utilised to give late family members an honourable burial and it enabled ex-mineworkers or their beneficiaries to alleviate debt, start their own businesses, make provision for their children’s education, or improve their quality of life.
– “I am a single mom, and after my mother’s death I struggled to bury her. The R37 000 I received helped me to pay my respects to my mother and erect a tombstone. I used the rest of the money to pay off my debts.” – Ms Tsetsane, daughter of the late Mrs Hellen Mmorake Tshesane.
– “I received R105 012 from the MBOD. After I was diagnosed with TB I could not find work, so I started a tuck shop. The money allowed me to buy a laptop and enrol my child for tertiary education. I was also able to expand my tuckshop.” – Mr John Makhala Monakalali, who was diagnosed with TB.
– “My husband Lucas passed away, and ever since I have been struggling to make ends meet. The R105 012 I received came at the right time as it allowed me to buy some things for the house, and put some into savings.” – Mrs Kelaotswe, wife of the late Mr Lucas Rasonki Kelaotswe.
The campaign has furthermore paved the way for numerous other campaigns by mining industry participants to resolve the issue of occupational disease claims. TEBA is partnering with Harmony, Sibanye, Goldfields, the MBOD, and the Chamber of Mines to build on its success. To date, an additional 4 000 claims have been processed.