SA delegation expected in the country to oversee medical examinations for former WENELA employees

By Innocent Nxumalo

ZIMBABWEANS who worked for South African gold mines under Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WENELA) are confident that the ongoing engagements between Zimbabwe and South Africa will culminate in the actual unveiling of pension benefits.

The anticipated state visit by South African delegation to facilitate further assessments of ex-gold mine workers under WENELA has brought hope that ongoing bi-national engagements between the two countries will eventually pay-off.

Former WENELA workers and their families have commended the government, saying the move will also assist in footing medical expenses for those who contracted respiratory diseases after being exposed to harmful substances.

“We are happy to hear that the South African delegation will come and finalise on our vetting. The government has done a wonderful job in presenting our case,” said a former employee who spoke to ZBC News.

“We have been waiting for our benefits for decades now, it seems like this bi-national commission is finally getting us there,” another said.

Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Chief Director Clifford Matorera assured potential beneficiaries that the initiated process will be comprehensive in cushioning affected families.

“We are expecting a delegation from South Africa for further assessments and progressing forward to eventually pave way for the payment of pensions to our citizens who worked under WENELA. I can assure concerned families that the process is led by our Permanent Secretary and we are at an advanced stage,” he said.

Nearly 10 000 Zimbabweans moved to Witwatersrand in the 1970s to work for Anglo-America, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Rainbow Minerals and other mining giants of the time.