Project Ku-Riha was rolled out by the Department of Health in 2015 with the goal of making substantial inroads into eliminating the claims backlog and ensuring that new claimants with valid claims are paid their due compensation. It had the support and active co-operation of various other government departments, organised labour and the companies.
It marked a turnaround in the administration and operation of the compensation fund on which current and past mineworkers, who have contracted occupational diseases, depend.
From 2014/5, the Department of Health, in collaboration with the MBOD and the Minerals Council, opened one-stop service centres in Carletonville, Gauteng; Mthatha, Eastern Cape; Burgersfort, Mpumalanga and Kuruman, Northern Cape. These one-stop centres are designed to provide medical support to former mineworkers. As such, the centres are located in mining and labour-sending areas to try to provide services to the maximum number of people.
Under the auspice of the ‘TB in the Mining Sector Southern Africa’ (TIMS) Project, nine Occupational Health Service Centres (OHSCs) were opened in Hlathikhulu and RFM, Swaziland; Mafeteng and Senkatana, Lesotho; Molepolole, Botswana; Manjakazi and Xai Xai, Mozambique; Kibong’oto, Tanzania and Swakopmund, Namibia. A further two OHSCs are being planned in Kadoma, Zimbabwe and Kitwe, Zambia.
The clinics offer medical examinations, health promotion and counselling to all patients, as well as referrals to other medical specialists, if necessary. The services enable patients to be diagnosed, treated and receive the help they need to remain healthy – all in one place. In addition, the centres help people prepare and submit claims to the MBOD and CCOD for compensation.