Many left with a hope that they would earn a lot of money and be able to improve the lot of their families back home. Instead most of them came back in coffins while thousands were sent home to die – having developed silicosis and other related ailments due to unsafe working conditions.
Many died waiting for their pensions, while others simply gave up hope. The irony is that they wrecked their bodies digging for gold and other minerals for decades only to come back penniless. Such is the story of exploitation in the mining industry.
R40 billion in pensions lies unclaimed in various pension funds. This money belongs to over 180 000 former mine workers and their families/beneficiaries. Of this number, the Eastern Cape accounts for about 70%.
All along the various schemes have claimed that they are unable to trace the beneficiaries of these pensions.
So over the past few months our two man team – investigative journalist Bongani Fuzile and photo journalist Michael Pinyana – has travelled across the province trying to piece together and document the stories of these miners.
Last week Teba – the agency/broker who recruited thousands of these miners – gave us a list of some of these “untraceable” ex-miners. We spent a couple of days and travelled over hundreds of kms and we found no less than 15 of these beneficiaries. This proves that if the funds were serious about locating them they would have done so a long time ago.
Today we re- publish the list of 4000 beneficiaries and the pension funds they belonged to. This is not the entire list of all beneficiaries and we will publish more names when we receive them.