Carletonville, 29 May 2015 - Eight companies currently or historically in the gold mining industry are pleased to announce their partnership with the Department of Health in Project Ku-Riha that is being launched in Carletonville today.
Project Ku-Riha (the Tsonga word for “compensation”) is being rolled out by the Department of Health, with the goal of making substantial inroads into addressing the backlog of compensation claims from mineworkers who suffered occupational lung diseases while working in the mining sector, and ensuring that new valid claims are paid within a reasonable timeframe.
The eight participating companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, DRDGold, Gold Fields, Harmony, Sibanye Gold and Village Main Reef.
The companies see this project as fundamental to their broader initiative announced on 18 November 2014 to address issues relating to compensation and medical care for occupational lung disease in the gold mining industry in South Africa. The companies are engaging a range of stakeholders in a quest to design and implement a comprehensive solution that is both fair to past, present and future gold mining employees, and also sustainable for the sector.
Project Ku-Riha marks a turnaround in the administration and operation of the compensation fund on which mine workers who have contracted occupational diseases depend. All parties recognise that the compensation system has not been operating as effectively as it should, with significant backlogs in claims processing having built up over the years.
The companies would like to thank Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Compensation Commissioner Barry Kistnasamy and his team for creating the conditions for the progress that we celebrate today.
For the companies, an efficiently operating compensation system is a critical part of the comprehensive solution they are seeking. This project builds on work already done between the Department of Health and the Chamber of Mines that led to the establishment of the first two One-Stop Service Centres in Carletonville and Mthatha.
These centres offer medical examinations, rehabilitation assessment, health promotion and counselling to all patients, as well as referrals to other medical specialists if necessary. Patients can now be diagnosed, treated and receive the help they need to stay healthy, in one place. In addition, the centres help individuals prepare and submit claims to the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD) for compensation.
The eight mining companies have jointly committed to a R5 million funding programme for Project Ku-Riha which has enabled the MBOD and the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases to employ a project manager and an additional 18 financial and government administration graduate professionals to carry out the necessary work.
Among other things, the work of Project Ku-Riha includes:
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