Ex-Miners pressurizing district labour offices over money

Lilongwe, March 30, 2017: Ministry of Labour, Sports and Manpower Developmenthas appealed to ex-miners in the country to exercise patience on the long awaited monetary South Africa compensation, saying currently processes are underway to meet the compensators’ demands.

This comes against a background of complaints by district labour offices in the country that concerned beneficiaries of the exercise have started knocking their doors daily demanding their compasation.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of Labour, Symon Mvundula told Malawi News Agency (Mana) Wednesday that people were acting on grapevines that have spread in the country that government has already received the money from South Africa.

“I must vehemently dispel these unsubstantiated allegations that are speculating in the country, that government has not yet received any money from the insurance companies in South Africa,” said Mvundula.

The PRO questioned the philosophy behind the people’s actions saying they were initially well briefed on the mode these monies would reach them once everything is complete between the governments of South Africa and Malawi.

“It’s regrettable that although people are aware that the money will not come through government, but instead it will directly go into their bank accounts, they still prefer to bother district labour offices,” he said.

He said currently over 9000 people have their names matched well with the list that was sent to the insurance companies out of a total of 36, 000 beneficiaries in the country.

“There are several insurance companies in South Africa directly dealing with these compensations.

The beneficiary figures will scale up following another insurance company that has found many other names corresponding with the list of names sent to them recently,” he explained.

Speaking in an interview, Lilongwe District Labour Officer Chiletso Mbewe said the situation is troublesome as the ex-miners were exerting unnecessary pressure which could have been avoided.

“We hear some of these people have borrowed money and other items hoping to pay back from the proceeds of these Theba compensations; so whenever the creditors come to them, they just hurry to this office venting their angers on us,” said Mbewe

She further explained that her office receives more than 10 cases on daily basis. Only 400 names corresponded well with the check list in South Africa out of the initial population of 4,000 from Lilongwe District.

Ntcheu District Labour officer, Efford Geza also said his office has received over 400 similar complaints monthly demanding their money.

According to Geza, Ntcheu has 2, 678 beneficiaries, and about 1,660 names matched well with the insurance companies in the first list who completed claim forms in November, 2016, but the monies are not yet disbursed.

Chairperson for the Ex-miners Association in Chiradzulu District, John Pumani in his early 60s, told Mana on Wednesday that he too was falling short to accommodate the pressure from his fellow ex-miners.

“We lack information, the only thing that greets my phone day in day out are calls from my fellow ex-miners asking for their money or telling me that they have learnt from a friend that government is keeping our monies, ” said Pumani who was in the labour office at the time of the telephone interview perusing the same cause.

Scores of Malawian men crossed borders to work in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia in mines in the early 1950s till 1990s when by the order of government they were officially banned.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA