TEBA and Eastern Cape Department of Health: briefing

Matters Relating to Ex-Mineworkers

29 February 2008
Chairperson: Mr M Sonto (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by TEBA on the tracking of provident fund claimants. It was originally set up to recruit labour for gold mines and TEBA was an acronym for The Employment Bureau of Africa. Issues raised included the non-cooperation the Chamber of Mines in ensuring that money was distributed as well as the issue of poor records. The Committee agreed with TEBA that the Chamber of Mines needed to be called in. The Eastern Cape Department of Health briefed the Committee on Occupational Health matters relating to mineworkers medical benefit claims. An issue here was the efforts of the leader of the Ex-mineworkers Union in trying to extract money and generally causing disruption in the process. The Committee agreed to request documents from the Chamber of Mines and mining houses. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson explained that TEBA needed to inform the Committee how they were involved in the matter of the ex-mineworkers claiming benefits due to them. The Committee wanted to solicit information that would allow them to make an effective recommendation to Parliament.

Presentation by TEBA
Dr Tokoana James Motlatsi (CEO:TEBA) agreed that it was necessary for the Committee to interrogate TEBA due to historical considerations, namely the exploitative nature of mine labour and the procurement thereof. He added that recruiting practices had changed drastically from what they used to be. He provided an overview of the 105-year-old organisation. It was originally set up to recruit "native labour" for gold mines in the Transvaal and Free State. In the mid-eighties, it recruited 500 000 mineworkers through 300 rural offices in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South African homelands, and Swaziland. He said that given its transformation and re-Iaunch as a black-owned mining services company, TEBA could play the leading role in following-up on all outstanding mining industry claims, estimated to be about 12 000 cases, worth more than R1bn. Given its capability, this backlog could probably be concluded within one year.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Motlatsi and asked if the delegation had anything to add.

Mr G Human (Manager: Mineworker Benefits – TEBA) referred to the 1970 Long Service Award (1970 LSA) Fund, saying that an agreement had been reached with the Chamber of Mines to trace members. He was appointed as a trustee and currently they were tracing members, expecting to reach 5 000 ex-miners. They would be paid out through TEBA Bank. They had started an initiative with the Mineworkers Provident Fund (MPF) the previous month. He added that they would trace as many of the 12 000 members as they could. Mr Human highlighted that TEBA was a facilitator. They had paid out R2 billion last year on behalf other companies. However the Long Service Award Benefit (LSAB) was the only benefit that TEBA was responsible for and the Chamber of Mines had asked TEBA to administer this scheme in 1995. He said that he would not go into detail as it was covered in the document. The main qualifying criteria for the LSAB was that one had to be at least 55 years of age and have 10 years completed service as an in-service miner or 15 years of service for an out-of-service miner.

The Chairperson stated that TEBA had been a recruiting agency and asked what the situation was with TEBA Bank.

Dr Motlatsi replied that it was the result of a recommendation of transformation for TEBA in 1996. It used to be
TEBA Cash Financial Services and was now a fully commercial bank, rather than a substructure.

Mr Human added that TEBA Ltd acted as an agent for TEBA Bank and they hade 55 rural offices in four countries. Through them they provided online banking services and that was how they paid out R2 billion in 2007.

Ms N Mathibela (ANC) asked why it was so difficult to reach those people who had worked in mines; she asked whether they were not registered with the mining houses. She asked how they traced them and how many years it took before a mineworker could collect the LSAB.

Mr P Nefolovhodwe (AZAPO) asked how long tracing took. If they were unable to trace a ex-miner, would there at least be the scope to use the funds for development of those areas from where the workers came. When a miner died, who received the benefits?

Dr Motlatsi replied that in the past until 1989, black mineworkers could not qualify for a pension or provident fund from the industry and they only qualified for a long service award. In 1970 a small number of blacks who had clerical positions (three percent) were given provident funds. Tracing was never a problem; the issue was TEBA being instructed to initiate a trace, as TEBA was contracted by a fund to trace members on their behalf. For the LSAB, it was the responsibility of the individual to present themselves to TEBA and fill in a claim form. He added that the bulk of the money was from the provident fund. TEBA might not be able to find the individual, but could certainly find their village and then glean additional information to find the individual or their surviving dependants.

Mr Human stated that the Mines 1970 Provident Fund payout was R1 200, the LSAB was R1 500 and the MPF was R150 000, therefore the focus should be on the MPF. Monies were payable to families in the event of death. Tracing 1970 Provident Fund members was difficult due to it still being administered by the Chamber of Mines. He was very surprised at the lack of information, in terms of identification numbers and passbook numbers, he ran the names through their database and managed to identify 12 000 individuals out of 60 000, from this it became evident that many of the 60 000 had duplicate entries. Mr Human stated that unfortunately the data was completely insufficient, but they were attempting to trace as many people as they could.

Dr Motlatsi added that they could not trace anybody unless they had been requested to.

Mr Human stated that they were only asked to do so by the MPF in January 2008. They were given a sample of names and a 31 March deadline, upon which they would appoint TEBA to trace all the names. He added that TEBA had no administrative duties with the MPF; it was the responsibility of the trustees to appoint TEBA to trace cases.

Dr Motlatsi stated that it would be appropriate for the Committee to meet with the CoM and find out why the trustees were not acting to make sure that the 12 000 identified got their money.

The Chairperson pointed out that TEBA had accused the Chamber of Mines of commercialising the investment and that Chamber of Mines had accused TEBA of commercialising the process because of the payment required to trace cases.

Dr Motlatsi replied that it was very interesting as TEBA used to be funded by the Chamber of Mines. In 2000 they asked him to commercialise TEBA, however TEBA’s process had not changed since then. He asked whether that meant that because TEBA was expensive it was better for the Chamber of Mines to keep the money of those who need it. The Chamber of Mines was malicious and he was prepared to debate this with them, as he was ready to challenge them.

The Chairperson asked whether they did referrals from the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Labour (DoL).

Mr Nefolovhodwe stated that TEBA was a gatekeeper, so in relation to TEBA, you received your money. He asked whether those who had been dismissed for health reasons, had passed through TEBA with a report.

Mr D Lucas (ANC) thanked Dr Motlatsi for his frankness and noted that TEBA was not such a “good” company before. They wanted to establish whether the ex-mineworkers had a case and it appeared that they did. For those claims of R1 200 to R1 500, it would cost more to trace them than to just hand out to claimants and it would be easier. He asked, if an individual came to you, why did you need to trace him, as he is right there. TEBA and the Chamber of Mines were relatives, but the commercialising of TEBA was making the problem worse.

The Chairperson stated that they would find a solution no matter what.

Dr Motlatsi stated that he was putting his official position aside and speaking candidly. He was at the 1979 miners strike and asked the Committee to request Nick Segal’s report of 2000 as well the Chamber of Mines’s decision on the report. Nick Segal was commissioned to write a report after Dr Motlatsi’s appointment. When medical reparations were done, it was done however each mining house felt it should be done. In the past they used to go past TEBA, but no longer.

The Chairperson asked what happened to their money.

Dr Motlatsi replied that they got it from the mining houses. It was unfortunate that SABC did not air TEBA’s statements and went through the Chamber of Mines instead. There were no facilities for individuals to get tested outside of mining houses, but occupational diseases developed after even 20 years. This was the responsibility of the employer. In relation to the Ex-mineworkers Union (EMU), there was a reason why there were thousands of unclaimed claims. In 1986 177 mineworkers died, they had taken on the case and had demanded extra compensation and won. The relationship with the mining industry was bad. However out of the 177 cases, only 38 could be found. The question was where was that money now. With regard to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike of 1987 where was the money as NUM could not trace everyone. Dr Motlatsi vehemently stated that these questions needed to be asked to the Chamber of Mines. In 1998 a law was passed, allowing the child-bearing girlfriend of a mineworker to be a claimant. This however was not popular with the mineworkers. He stated that if the Chamber of Mines could use TEBA to find able-bodied men to work in mines, then they could certainly use TEBA to find their families. Dr Motlatsi asked the Committee to ask AngloGold about the shares that they had not yet distributed to mineworkers. He told them to ask where the money was. Saying that TEBA was very expensive was not an excuse. If that was the case, then an alternative needed to be found.

Mr Human replied that they did have an interaction with the Department of Health (DoH) on a needs basis and they had supplied the DoH with a complete record of service. The MPF was established in 1939 and he had dealings with the fund since 1992. Throughout the years, requirements had got tougher, up to the point were they were now unreasonable and needed to be changed. TEBA was administering the LSAB scheme. EMU had been interviewed and an understanding had been reached in respect of benefits, which had been paid out by the Eastern Cape offices.

In answer to the Chairperson asking if TEBA actually held the funds concerned, Dr Motlatsi said that they did not.

The Chairperson asked where R1.2 billion was and Dr Motlatsi replied that it was with the MPF.

The Chairperson asked if the MPF had asked TEBA to trace the beneficiaries and Dr Motlatsi replied that they had only since January 2008.

The Chairperson asked how many and Dr Motlatsi replied that it was only 120.

In reply to the Chairperson asking which other companies traced mineworkers, Mr Human said that he would get that information for the Chairperson.

The Chairperson asked what they recommend be done to ensure that those who qualified received their money.

Ms Mathibela asked about the duplication issue.

Mr Human replied that with the 1970 fund, the records were in shambles. However, with the MPF they did not have a problem due to the fact that they made use of the TEBA industry numbers, unlike the 1970 Fund. New members used the TEBA number for life, which was linked to the industry number.

The Chairperson stated that according to tradition it seemed that any surviving relatives received the money, but that legal imperatives suggested that only immediate family could claim.

Mr Human replied that only the spouse or guardian of a child could claim money from the LSAB.

The Chairperson asked about the responsibility of the Benefits Service Award Scheme.

Mr Human replied that it was the LSAB and that TEBA did not hold any of the money. They received applications which were confirmed by the mining houses. The mining houses were subsequently invoiced, upon which TEBA would hand the money over to the claimant.

The Chairperson requested that Dr Motlatsi provide the Committee with an off the cuff two page document on what he thought should be done to arrive at a solution.

Dr Motlatsi replied that the Committee needed to ask the Chamber of Mines about all the outstanding monies. He added that the appointment of a working committee would be a step in the right direction.

Presentation by the Eastern Cape Department of Health
Ms P Mkalipi (Assistant Director: Occupational Health Services: Eastern Cape Department of Health) provided a presentation on the state of occupational health services in the province, with specific consideration to (ex) mineworkers.

The Chairperson asked what the name of the leader of EMU was. He had phoned him in January requesting a report. The outstanding claim figure of R54 million had been significantly reduced due to payouts. It was more in the region of R20 million now, and that this misunderstanding caused the EMU to demand money that was already paid out. He did not know how departments would handle this union. The issue was Mr E Nomazele’s representation of ex-mineworkers. He needed to be dealt with firmly and decisively; the need for information on the relevancy of his claims was needed.

Mr B Mkongi (ANC) stated that they would make a recommendation to Parliament on how to deal with Mr Nomazele, but asked about the issue of people with mine-related disabilities.

Mr Nefolovhodwe asked if they were finding it easier to trace people for medical exams. He asked if people were easily accessible and if not, he suggested talking to TEBA.

Ms Mathibela replied that she had met Mr Nomazele in the Eastern Cape Legislature and that he was using lots of old people to promote his claims by threatening to have them sleep there until the issue was resolved. Furthermore, roads would be blocked if his wishes were not met. So they acquiesced. She asked why people were still confused as to whether the former Ciskei and Transkei were part of the Eastern Cape.

Mr A Wild (Director: Non-Personal Directorate – Department of Health Eastern Cape) added that he was born in the Transkei and that his mother was born in the Ciskei, so he did not know where he belonged. He stated that they had come a long way. In terms of the Commission a lot of work had been done in marketing and promotion. Typically when an ex-miner reported to a clinic, a case history was taken, and then they were referred to a hospital where an Occupational Health Co-ordinator (OHC) assisted them.

Ms Mkalipi added that usually they had meetings with clinic sisters once a month to stress the necessity of taking detailed case history profiles of ex-mineworkers.

The Chairperson asked if they could count how many medical benefit exam cases had been done.

Ms Mkalipi replied that they had been requesting the information, but that the hospitals posted them to the MPOD and that it did not go through the provincial office. They had requested it form the MPOD, which replied that it did not sort cases according to provinces but promised to rectify the issue.

The Chairperson replied that this decentralisation was a problem and that they needed to recommend a centralised method.

Mr Wild stated that the use of TEBA was not as easy as TEBA suggested and that information was not really shared with them at a provincial level. In terms of record keeping it needed to be taken into account that the Occupational Health Co-ordinators were also fully functioning nursing sisters and that they were pretty stretched. Ms Mkalipi reiterated this sentiment.

Mr Lucas said that this was where he got concerned and that the issue was the increasing commercialisation of TEBA.

The Chairperson agreed that this was were the problem lay, but added that Mr Flanagan was not present and that Dr Motlatsi had brought someone along who did not admit to the sparseness of records. A lack of organisation contributed to the encouragement of Mr Nomazele’s strategy to sow discord and confusion by claiming monies from various different departments or organisations.

Mr Mkongi asked how the department evaluated fishermen.

Ms Mkalipi replied that they were in the process of creating two new assistant director level posts to help with occupational health.

Mr Wild sated that the Department of Labour were the custodians of labour and that if they picked up a case, they should refer it to the DoH. The fishing industry was tiny in comparison to the Western Cape, so it was really a big issue of concern for them.

The Chairperson thanked the delegation.

The Chairperson stated that he was worried by the low turnout at the previous meeting. What was left for the Committee to do was to put all this information together so that an effective recommendation to Parliament could be made. The Chairperson noted the enticing words of TEBA in terms of calling the Chamber of Mines to book,

Mr Nefolodhodwe added that they should request the information from the Chamber of Mines.

Mr Lucas added that the Segal Report was also needed.

The meeting was adjourned.



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