Please be informed that ex-nuclear workers who have repeatedly over the past few years failed in their attempts to get compensation from South Africa’s Nuclear Corporation (NECSA) for debilitating and often fatal occupational diseases, will today seek answers from Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.
They will gather at Makhaza Sports ground, corner Maunde Street and Makhaza Street Sausville, Atteridgeville outside Pretoria. They will leave at 11h00am to hand over a memorandum to the Minister at her offices in Pretoria at 12h00. For information you can call Mr Alfred Sepepe at 074 2998214.
Please find attached the memorandums .
Please contact Mr. Sepepe for further details.
This media release is issued by:
Pelindaba Working Group
acting in solidarity with the plight of these ex-nuclear workers
Dominique Gilbert – 083 740 4676
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This event follows a march by the ex-nuclear workers on Necsa’s Pelindaba Complex earlier this year.
Some background information has been subjoined below for your information.
Many of these Atteridgeville Township based workers formed part of the sample group of 208 ex-nuclear workers who underwent preliminary medical examinations by respected occupational health medical practitioner Dr Murray Coombs. Coombs found that a significant number of these workers suffered from occupational illnesses resultant from their employment at the Pelindaba complex and referred several cases to the Compensation Commissioner. All these applications were rejected. The Commissioner has yet to make known the basis on which he dismissed these applications despite legislation which entitles these workers to compensation based on presumption alone. Coombs further concluded that most of the ex-workers he had seen needed further in-depth medical tests and in 2006 Dr. Coombs approached NECSA to undertake these tests in the presence of representatives appointed by the workers themselves to ensure transparency. NECSA flatly refused and produced its own medical results that denied the claims made in the Coombs Report.
Almost 30 ex-workers from the original sample group have died penniless and with extreme medical conditions since this process began in 2005/6 – this despite numerous appeals to the President, various Ministers and a special hearing before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee in July 2007 which undertook to ensure justice and compensation for these workers. The chairman of that committee was dropped in the new post-elections administration and to date not a single promise made to these workers has been met.
Protest about illnesses ends peacefully
A protest by ex-employees of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) who claim to suffer from illnesses caused during their employment at the corporation, ended peacefully on Thursday when it was agreed that they would first study Necsa’s response to their demands before taking any further action.
The action by ex-employees to get compensation for the illnesses they suffer as well as compensation for the families of ex-employees who have already passed away started in 2004 as a campaign supported by Earthlife Africa.
The ex-employees gathered outside gate 3 at Necsa on Thursday morning, demanding answers to a memorandum handed over to the corporation during a protest on 24 January 2007, claiming that the corporation never responded to the demands set out in the memorandum.
Salome Moela (Setsiba), who was employed by the erstwhile Atomic Energy Board, told Kormorant that she was involved in an accident at Pelindaba in 1987 when she was pinned to a wall by a truck when she walked from one building to the next. She says that since the accident she has been unable to work but has received no compensation or pension from Necsa.
Another woman, Rosina Raselabe’s husband worked at Necsa in 1998 when he was rendered unconscious and injured in an explosion at the site. She said that her husband was taken to Unitas Hospital where he regained consciousness after four days. Raselabe’s husband has since died and she claims that she does not receive any pension from Necsa – money that she needs to take care of her children.
The group claimed that since the campaign started more than half of the ex-employees have died without any compensation forthcoming.
The memorandum from 2007 which was handed over to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Necsa, Dr. Rob Adam, includes demands to have access to medical treatment, access to their medical files and compensation for the ill as well as compensation for the families of the deceased. In accepting the memorandum from Mr. Alfred Sepepe, Dr. Adam said that the corporation responded to the memorandum on 25 January 2007.
He said it seemed that the response did not reach the ex-employees and it was agreed that the leaders of the ex-employees first study the response. Dr. Adam then invited the group to return to the corporation if they had any further concerns.
The response from Necsa to the memorandum included that Necsa opened its medical facilities to the ex-employees for examination so that medical tests can be done to ascertain whether their illnesses are due to their employment at the corporation. It also refers to the finding of an independent investigation into the claims and the fact that the findings were forwarded to the Compensation Commissioner.
The group undertook to study the content of the response.
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