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Ex-Wenela workers speak on pension payments

Ex-Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WNLA) members in Zimbabwe say they are pleased with the efforts being made to ensure the former mine workers receive their pension claims.

The association popularly by the acronym Wenela was made up of miners drawn from various countries including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique who worked in South African mines in the 1970s.

President of the Zimbabwe chapter Lungelwe Mkhwananzi said the media should avoid raising the ex-mine workers’ hopes too high in terms of the compensation they will receive as that might cause misunderstanding among the members.

“We do not want to mislead our members in making them believe that they will all be compensated with R500 000,” said Mkhwananzi.

“This is not the time to talk about figures in as much as they are; there is no specification on the amount that each person will receive.”

Mkhwananzi said an agreement was made through an out of court settlement with the mining companies for the ex-mine workers in order for them to receive compensation.

“There is over 5 billion Rand from the out of court settlement which will benefit people who have made their claims showing they are suffering from tuberculosis or silicosis and they will be compensated,” he said.

“They agreed to add more on the compensation if it would not be enough for the claimants.”

The association’s president said their members are faced with a challenge of resources in their preparations for medical examinations.

“We are sending people to the Occupational Health Service Centre in Kadoma every Thursdays for medical examination which is free of charge, they are transported by kombi from Bulawayo,” said Mkhwananzi.

“However, some of the people do not have sufficient funds for them to travel from their homes out of Bulawayo to travel, we are appealing to the public that may be willing to assist us.”

Mkhwananzi urged the claimants to be patient and approach the association if they have any queries.

“As we move forward, we are asking people to be patient throughout the procedures but we are happy with the proceedings,” he said.

Most of the Ex-Wenela miners are yet to receive their pensions decades after leaving their employment in the neighbouring country

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