Ex-Wenela workers to get windfall

Cde Tapiwa Matangaidze

Cde Tapiwa Matangaidze

Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government is about to conclude talks that will see pensions of thousands of locals who once worked in South African mines being transferred to Zimbabwe to benefit the ex-mine employees or their families.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Tapiwa Matangaidze said Government had engaged professionals to deal with the matter.

Cde Matangaidze said this while responding to a question posed by Chiredzi South MP Callisto Gwanetsa on what his Ministry was doing to assist people who were once employed in South African mines.

He said his Ministry was working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to facilitate the process.

“A database has been created. We are in the final stages of the engagement with the South African based professionals who will facilitate the transfer of the pension fund and other benefits owed by the South African Government,” said Cde Matangaidze.

He said lawyers and some professionals were working to ensure that former miners get their dues.

“The Wenela (Witwatersrand Native Labour Association) ex-miners hailed from Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique. Some lawyers in South Africa and a company comprising of Zimbabwean professionals have made efforts to engage the Government of each respective country to get a mandate to represent the workers. On our part, we have engaged the professionals and established that there are about 15 containers of documentation relating to the ex-miners and their families,” said Cde Matangaidze.

He said the Government was keen to see the successful transfer of the funds from South Africa to NSSA.

“This will give relief to and immensely benefit surviving ex-miners and/or their beneficiaries,” he said.

In March this year, Xulu Attorneys Inc headed by South African prominent human rights lawyer Barnabas Xulu promised to assist the pensioners following meetings held in Bulawayo.

Mr Xulu told hundreds of former Wenela workers in Bulawayo that cases against the mining companies would be filed at a court in Pretoria to spearhead the exercise so that people can get their monies as soon as possible.


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    Why should this money be transferred to NASSA? The majority of former WENELA employees are now very old and need this money for their upkeep. Some are living in rural areas while others found their way back to South Africa. NASSA is notorious for shortchanging pensioners by paying them peanuts after long years of work and contributing to the social security scheme. Former WENELA employees will be robbed of their money in day light by NASSA. Why cant the South African government work with reputable organizations who will receive this pay out on behalf of ex-WENELA employees? These organizations can then transfer money to deserving ex-WENELA employees. The worst fear also is that soon there will be bogus ex-WENELA employees. it is known what happened to the former liberation war veterans Z$50 000 payout. Even some born in 1980 will claim to be ex-WENELA employees. Another scenario is where there will be some claiming to be ex-WENELA employees’ children demanding payment.