Ex-miners plan to ‘occupy’ South African embassy in Lilongwe over benefits

Over 150 ex-Teba mine workers in Karonga have planned to hold a vigill at South African High Commission in Malawi on 4 July over the delays of their benefit from South African mining firms.

Mbukwa addressing ex-miners
Mbukwa addressing ex-miners
We want our benefits : Ex-Teba miners in Karonga
We want our benefits : Ex-Teba miners in Karonga

According to the document dated 20 June 2016, addressing to the Office of the President and Cabinet, the group shall not leave the office until they get their cash.

They said this is because they have been cheated several times by Karonga district office as well as the ministry of labour.

“We would like to inform the ministry of labour and South African Embassy through your office that we will hold a vigil on 4 July 2016 at SA Embassy office to demand our pension,” said the letter.

The ex-minister has asked  ministry of labour to provide toilets, bathrooms and medical facilities for their vigil period.

Secretary for the group Alick Mbukwa said: “We have information that our money is already in but someone somewhere wants to siphon it but this will not happen.”

One of the ex-Theba miners Bernard Mwakatete said “we were told to provide some working documents of which we did, so our question is why the delays?”

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.

However, most of Malawians did not get their benefits when the arrangement ended in the 1990s.

Over the years, the ex-miners have been promised by South African mining firms that they would get their benefits, but up to now they have not received their dues.

The total number of ex-miners who were supposed to benefit is 60 000 but only 36 000 were approved by the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development and out of those, only 9 400 names have been identified, according to Ex-Miners Association of Malawi president John Dick .

Recently, Minister of Labour Henry Mussa said Malawi government has concluded a bilateral labour agreement with Republic of South Africa about the issue.

Mavuto Kauteka, who is claiming money on behalf of his deceased father, said his father had waited for a long time for the benefits up until he died.

“My father never had a chance to claim what he worked for and I am hoping to finally collect what he deserved,” he said.

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