We offer ex-mineworkers assistance with obtaining their pensions and other benefits from the mining companies. This is predominantly because for many people in this area, accessing information is difficult especially for those that are illiterate and transport to their former employers too expensive.
What we do
With the majority of ex-mineworkers being illiterate, we complete their claim forms, assist with the opening of bank accounts and obtain the necessary documents.
In 2010 several ex-Anglo Platinum Mine workers asked us for help accessing their provident (pension) funds and other benefits from the company. More and more enquiries meant that we built up a good working relationship with Sanlam (one of the fund providers). By using traditional community structures effectively (Chief, Headmen and Elders), the inflow of requests grew even more. Our project now covers a large area and ex-mine workers living as far as 60 km from Coffee Bay come to us for assistance.
What we’ve achieved so far
Since January 2012, we have:
- Seen in excess of 1500 community members;
- Of those with funds unclaimed, 98% have been successfully resolved
- Helped over R4.8 million to be released into the area, lifting many families out of poverty and boosting their spending capacity.
We still want to…
On a more immediate timeline, we want to monitor and evaluate our current and past work in this project. This includes documenting basic details of the ex-mineworkers’ households. In the longer term we hope build more relationships with other providers. To do so, we require increased organisational capacity. If you are willing and able to support us, please do get in touch or donate.
Why we do what we do
An extremely high percentage of ex-mine employees are from the former Transkei and worked on the mines as migrant labourers in the 1970s and 1980s. To this day, there are millions in unclaimed benefits across South Africa; read more about the issues facing former mine workers here.
In an area where current unemployment levels amongst the economically active are at nearly 70%, migrant labour is still prevalent today.
The repercussions of migrant working are well documented:
- Vulnerable female-headed households;
- Increased HIV infections (including seasonal spikes when mineworkers return to their families);
- Many children growing up with absent fathers working in the mines.
The majority of families have at least one family member moving to either Gauteng or the Western Cape. There, they seek work which can continue the often negative impacts on family structures here.
When the men return home and want to access their pensions, the existing help centres exacerbate the issues of access to information as they are over 60km from Coffee Bay and charge a fee or percentage for handling claims.
The predominant form of income in the Coffee Bay area is social security grants issued by the government. Considering that a government pension pays only R1500 per month and a child support grant pays just R330 per month per child, any extra funds coming in from the provident fund make a big difference to families in the community.
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