The mining industry has been, and continues to be amongst the most hazardous trades in the world.
Injuries and deaths due to accidents in mines occasionally present the greatest immediate health hazards such as pneumoconiosis and tuberculosis, which are caused by the inhalation of dust. The diseases remain the major long-term occupational hazard for mine workers. To some mine workers, these damages show some time after retiring.
For years now, getting compensation for work-related dangers at mines remains a struggle for ex-employees and their families. This is why, the Botswana Labour Migrant Association (BoLAMA) in partnership with Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA), has enlisted Barclays Bank Botswana as their partner that will be facilitating ex-miners’ pensions after introducing its new payment regiment.
In an interview, BoLAMA chairperson, Simon Dikhudu told Mmegi that the decision was taken after beneficiaries expressed a great displeasure on The Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) services as most of them cried of paying high interest rate, not being given their compensation on time whilst others were not given their compensations at all.
“Rand Mutual Assurance is a South African company whose mandate is to compensate former migrant mine workers, who got injured while working in the mines and heavily left with disabilities. In the past week, BoLAMA and RMA have been tracking and tracing these former mine workers and their beneficiaries to be informed about this new payment scheme,” he explained.
He said the new scheme will be cheaper to the beneficiaries as they will be able to withdraw their monies
Currently, RMA pays pensioners in Botswana using bank accounts and is said to be changing the method of payment. Pensioners will now receive their benefits paid directly into their RMA Prepaid Card. That card is said to require no bank account opening.
With 34 branches and 113 ATMs across the country, Barclays is said to be highly accessible to beneficiaries. It is also said to have a solid reputation and good service standards, which will also be an advantage to ex-miners and their beneficiaries. RMA prepaid cards are also said to be VISA cards meaning beneficiaries would be able to use them at various merchants. They are also fully enabled for purchases at various retail stores as well as for cash back services at participating outlets.
RMA has promised the beneficiaries that it will pay them on time every month and they will be notified by SMS once their money is credited. Dikhudu said that they will keep on raising awareness about the new developments and their organisation throughout the country.