CHRR threatens to sue Govt for delaying compensations for ex-miners

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), one of the oldest human rights watchdogs in Malawi, has threatened to take the Malawi Government to court over continued delay to pay thousands of Malawians who worked in South African mines in 1960s, 70s and 80s during the apartheid era.

Kaiyatsa: Pay miners their compensation–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

CHRR executive director Michael Kaiyatsa said his organization is saddened to note that the ex-miners, many of whom are old and ill, had to stage a demonstration yesterday, risking their lives amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to force the government to attend to their grievances.

Kaiyatsa made the sentiments in a press statement the organization released Thursday afternoon. The statement is titled ‘Justice delayed is justice denied: pay ex-miners their compensation’.

“What government is doing to these people by delaying their compensations is the worst form of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The delay has been a source of great frustration for the ex-miners, many of whom toiled for many years under hazardous conditions in South African gold mines. CHRR is further concerned that with each passing day, the ex-miners have higher chances of dying than of receiving their compensation,” reads the statement in part.

CHRR has further observed that about 48,000 Malawian ex-miners have been looking forward to the day when they would get their compensations since their return from South Africa between 1988 and 1989.

Kaiyatsa said, however, that three decades later, that anticipation is turning into dejection and hopelessness for these ex-miners, as not even one of them has received their promised compensation yet.

“This is inhumane. We urge government to speed up the compensations or risk a lawsuit. CHRR also urges government to come clean over claims by the ex-miners that the South Africa government remitted compensation for about 400, 000 Malawian ex-miners, but that the beneficiaries are yet to get their dues. CHRR is deeply disturbed by these claims, which is why we are asking the government to come out clean and address this issue as a matter of urgency,” challenged Kaiyatsa.

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