Minister of Labour and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila has said only 12 Malawian ex-miners who worked in South African mines nearly 30 years ago under Teba will finally get their pension money.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, several Malawians trekked to South Africa to work in mines under an arrangement with Teba Limited, which served South African mining companies and mineworkers throughout southern Africa for more than a century
Kasaila said the 12 names have come after a rigorous screening, saying the South African Financial Services Board, which looks after unclaimed funds, wanted only those ex-miners who were on contributory pension scheme.
“Some people were circulating rumours that the government had received huge sums of money from South Africa for the ex-miners, this was false. This is why the government contacted the South African government and our officials went there to verify the facts on the ground,” said Kasaila.
He said there are 53, 000 ex-miners in the country, out of which 13 000 were told to fill forms to access the pension money but only 5 000 filled the forms.
“Only 12 have qualified, they were indeed on contributory pension scheme. They will now be required to fill the last forms, the affidavits in order to access their money,” said Kasaila.
The matter was a hot electoral issue in the run up to the 1994 general election after the South African government discontinued the hiring of ex-miners from Malawi and other countries.
The then opposition, the United Democratic Front promised to resurrect the program, blaming the then ruling Malawi Congress Party for mishandling the issue.