About Vaal Reef Disaster Trust

The Vaal Reefs Disaster Trust (VRDT) was founded by Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited (AAC), Vaal Reefs Exploration and Mining Company Limited (VRE) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1995 after the mining disaster which took place at the Vaal Reefs Gold Mining Company Limited (“No. 2 Shaft”) on 10 May 1995.

Anglo American Corporation (AAC) was the parent (holding) company of the Vaal Reefs mine at the time the 1995 disaster occurred. Hence it was the co-founder of the VRDT and contributed some of the trustees from its own ranks. In the mid-2000s, the organization (AAC) announced that it was exiting gold mining and would over time sell down its stake in its then subsidiary AngloGold. AngloGold subsequently merged with Ashanti (a Ghanaian gold mining entity) to form AngloGold Ashanti Limited. AAC was thus substituted as a founder by AngloGold Ashanti Limited.

The following Trustees were first appointed to play a vital role in the establishment and management of the VRDT; Walter Sisulu (deceased), Helen Suzman (deceased), Dr Charles Edward Carter, Irene Charnley, Robert Michael Godsell, John Kemble, Dr James Motlatsi, Cecilia Daisy Manzana, Ina Perlman, and Christopher Louis Sunter.

The parties accordingly wish to establish a charitable Trust to receive and administer funds donated to the Trust from time to time.


The trendsetter and pioneering project in the mining industry disaster relief fund, to benefit its beneficiaries through education.

Mission & Objective

Primarily to provide financial assistance and support to dependants of employees who died in the mine disaster at Vaal Reefs on 10 May 1995;

In furtherance of the above to use the funds for the maintenance, accommodation, education, and general physical, spiritual and emotional well-being of such dependants, living in the South Africa and such other neibouring in the southern Africa

The Trustees, or those employed in the Trust, are not to assume those duties and responsibilities, which properly are those of the parents, guardian or communities.

The primarily focus is education of children of victims at all levels

Life skills training for those who did not perform well at school and adults children

Life skills training for widows

Education and facilitate the widows business capacity and capability


The day was Wednesday; the time 20:30 on the 10 May 1995 when a locomotive dropped over the edge of 56 level (1,676m below surface) and collided with the cage carrying the 104 mineworkers at 62 level (1,859m below surface). This caused the rope to snap, sending the cage hurtling to the bottom of the shaft (2,300m below surface). This tragedy brought two key changes to the mining industry. Firstly, the immediate implementation of the new Health & Safety Act - specifically the five basic rights – and secondly, for the first time ever, the stakeholders for the first time took care of the dependents after the death of breadwinners.

The 104 victims of the disaster left 431 dependents all entirely dependent on the deceased and now the beneficiaries of the Vaal Reefs Disaster Trust.

The dependents of the deceased are scattered across South African and the neighbouring countries. The majority widows and children live in Lesotho 219, followed by South Africa 114, Mozambique 54, Botswana 31 and Swaziland 13.

Today the Trust is 21 years and had managed since inception each and every year to meet its obligations without asking any financial assistance from outside.

The two founders; AngloGold Ashanti Limited and the National Union of Mineworkers should be complemented with the caliber of representation they always nominate to manage the Trust operations. The resources they are willing to assist with whenever they are asked to have made it possible to administer the Trust with minimal obstacles.