The Southern Africa Mining Association (Sama) recently held a summit in South Africa over unclaimed social benefits of migrant workers worldwide.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries that was invited to take part in the meeting as its former Wenela workers were exposed to harmful substances, which resulted in some of them contracting silicosis of their liver or tuberculosis during the time they worked at SA gold mines. Sama said the migrant workers were facing challenges in claiming their benefits. He said unclaimed social security benefits are one of the most pressing issues facing migrant workers worldwide.
“At the end of their employment contracts, migrant workers often struggle to access their social security benefits, often due to a lack of adequate documentation to claim what is due to them,” he said.
He said in South Africa, the situation is more acute because people from Southern African Development Community (Sadc) like Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and to some extent Zambia migrated to work in mines.
Sama said for generations, these migrant mineworkers contributed to the socio-economic development of South Africa. He noted that many of these migrant mineworkers have not been paid their social security benefits which remain with social security funds and investment schemes.
“Currently, more than a thousand funds hold more than R42 billion in assets on behalf of over 4 million beneficiaries in South Africa. Some of these funds are no longer operational, leaving beneficiaries in limbo,” he said.