Govt commended for facilitating compensation for Ex-WENELA workers

By ZBC Reporter
THE Government has been commended for stepping up engagement with its South African counterpart to ensure that former colonially established Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA) workers are compensated.
The arrangement between southern African colonial governments between 1970 to 1980 known as Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA) saw many flocking to the South African mining industry, an establishment which some believe was a ploy to distract them from liberation war activities.
It came with respiratory complications and accidents while some natives failed to get their dues until a 2019 Johannesburg High court ruling.
“It happened during the smith era to have all man in industry and not to go to war in the thick of things but it didn’t work, we had to engage the current government for the intervention we didn’t have any channels but now it’s progressing. We are afraid it’s now 40s, some are ageing some have families struggling but they have to benefit now,” said Norman Mhenu, an Ex Wenera Worker.
Despite the ruling which enabled workers from other countries to be compensated, those from Zimbabwe had been excluded until government engaged their counterparts and now the funds are ready for disbursement.
“We would like to thank the government for taking us this far, we had become hopeless until President Mnangagwa met President Ramaphosa who was once the workers leader. So at this stage we are happy that over 1 500 registered widows and orphans are set to benefit,” said Rogers Munakamwe, Chairperson Ex-WENELA Association.
A Zimbabwean delegation is set to depart for South Africa to engage with responsible associations on progress during the first week of next month at a time when just over 1 500 have been registered.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in conjunction with the National Social Security Authority has since issued a statement urging ex-WENELA workers to avail themselves for Pneumoconiosis and Silicosis free testing while mobile registration will be underway in Harare from 27 to 29 September before the programme is rolled out to other provinces.

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