Northern Cape

UK payout for asbestosis victims

British-based multinational Cape plc is expected to pay a first tranche of £21-million (about R336-million) in June to a trust set up to aid sufferers from asbestos-related diseases in South Africa. The payment is part of a conditional settlement reached on December 21 last year between the company and lawyers acting for 7 500 asbestos victims in the Northern Cape and Northern Province. The victims contracted asbestos-related diseases as a result of working at, or living in the vicinity of, Cape's former South African mines and mills. Cape also agreed to pay a further £10-million over the next 10 years. According to London lawyer Richard Meeran, whose firm Leigh Day and Co represented the South African plaintiffs in legal actions in Britain, the settlement was unprecedented in its nature. Meeran said the maximum payment would be for victims of mesothelioma (the fatal asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lungs). They will each receive £5 250. The settlement is conditional on the victims undertaking not to take further action against Cape, but also conditional on the South African government agreeing not to support other victims in any possible future legal actions. In addition, however, Cape wants an assurance from the South African government that the company will be absolved from its legal liability to rehabilitate its mine dumps in South Africa. According to Meeran, it looked probable that the conditions would be met. He said the conditions sounded onerous, but were not the same as selling out. He added that during the legal battle there had been a very real possibility that Cape could have declared insolvency and that claimants would have got nothing. (Source: Sunday Independent, 13 January 2002)

A Communication Strategy for Health in the Kalahari

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Health Systems Trust
Since Primary Health Care (PHC) is now accepted as the foundation of health care delivery in South Africa, health districts have become the vehicle through which this health care system will be implemented. One of the main reasons for the establishment of the district health system is to engender a move towards decentralised health management. The basic modus operandi for the management and delivery of health care is through a hierarchical four-tiered structure: i.e. national, provincial, regional and district level. The national Department of Health is responsible for overall co-ordination and determination of national health policy the provincial Departments are responsible for the co-ordination of the health system within each province, for the provision of specialist health services, and for the monitoring and support of districts and the district/regional authorities are responsible for the actual delivery of health care and for the provision of non-specialist health services within each district.