Media release

Inter-Ministerial Committee on revitalisation of distressed mining communities on progress made in addressing challenges in mining towns

16 October 2018

16 October 2018

The IMC on the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities met in Pretoria on 16 October 2018 to assess progress in addressing the developmental challenges in mining towns and labour-sending areas. The IMC, chaired by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is mandated to achieve integrated and sustainable human settlements, improve the living and working conditions of mineworkers, and health of mining communities, and advance the socio-economic development of mining towns.  

South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) Report on Mining Communities

The IMC reflected on the implementation of recommendations of the SAHRC’s Report on Mining Communities. The SAHRC, represented by Advocate Jonas Sibanyoni, attended the meeting at the invitation of the IMC Chairperson.

Advocate Sibanyoni emphasised the obligation of government to implement the recommendations of the Report on Mining Communities and provided feedback to the commission within stipulated time frames in terms of Section 18 of the SAHRC Act, 2013 (Act 40 of 2013). He also reported that in terms of the Act, the SAHRC may establish a Section 11 Committee to advise it on the implementation of the recommendations.

Advocate Sibanyoni commended the work of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in responding to the recommendations. He stated that “the immediate implementation of the recommendations by the IMC has impressed the Human Rights Commission”. It was noted that a working group, co-chaired by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and DMR, has been established to implement the recommendations.

Out-of-court silicosis settlement

The tracking and tracing of ex-mineworkers who are to be compensated for having contracted lung diseases while working for gold mines gives effect to the successful implementation of the out-of-court silicosis class-action suit. The R5-billion out-of-court silicosis settlement will be presented to the court for acceptance and a Trust will be established to disburse the funds. Government will implement the required support to ensure ex-mineworkers receive their funds.

Four functioning One-Stop centres provide health services to mining communities and ensure that retirement benefits are easily accessible to ex-mineworkers.

South Africa participated in a United Nations High-Level Meeting held in New York, USA on 26 September 2018, under the theme: “United to end tuberculosis: an urgent global response to a global epidemic”. The meeting aimed to accelerate efforts in ending TB, and reach all affected people with prevention and care.

Unclaimed social-protection benefits

The IMC was concerned about unclaimed social-protection benefits for ex-mineworkers in the Southern African region and requested weekly progress updates. The following unclaimed benefits were recorded:

  • R45 billion unclaimed for 4.2 million workers overall (pension/provident funds), R4 billion unclaimed by miners (pension/provident funds)
  • R1.2 billion unclaimed compensation funds for miners
  • R1.6 billion unclaimed by former civil servants.

Tracking and tracing of ex-mineworkers

Minister Dlamini Zuma requested that the Government Communication and Information System, working with communicators from the IMC departments,  should implement a communication plan to help trace ex-mineworkers in the Southern African region and former civil servants.  

Strengthening integrated human settlements

The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) pledged to strengthen integrated human settlements and social infrastructure development in mining towns and labour-sending areas. Detailed profiles and interventions were outlined, covering priority mining towns and labour-sending areas in the Eastern Cape; Free State; Gauteng; KwaZulu-Natal; Limpopo; Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape.

An update was provided on the development of the Housing and Living Conditions Standards for the Mining Industry, which will be shared with stakeholders for comment. The DHS will establish a Programme Management Office to improve implementation and monitoring of integrated human settlements programmes.

Rural and township revitalisation fund

The IMC is considering a rural and township revitalisation fund to grow small businesses in mining towns, which will be aligned to the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan.

The DPME will coordinate a consultative workshop in November 2018 to develop standards and a framework for decommissioning of old mining assets. 

National and provincial departments will be incorporating key indicators in their 2019/20 annual performance plans to strengthen the socio-economic development and improvement of mining towns and distressed mining communities.

In closing the meeting, Minister Dlamini Zuma said: “the IMC has an important direct role to play in community development work around the mines and improving the living conditions of mineworkers. All role players must work together to build a thriving and inclusive mining sector which contributes to economic growth.”

Mlungisi Mtshali
Cell: 082 046 2222

Issued by: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

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