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5 Jul 2016

Sarika Doodnath, Helen Suzman Foundation (So. Africa)

Silicosis and tuberculosis on the gold mines

…The silicosis and tuberculosis case was brought in 2004 and it and has still not been resolved.  However, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has agreed to the first class action for sick employees in South Africa, allowing these workers to claim from several mining companies…This court case will be historic for the mining industry as well as for workers’ rights in South Africa.  In the Johannesburg High Court in October 2015, it was said that the 32 gold companies involved that owned or operated 82 different gold mines knew that they were putting the miners’ lives at risk for more than a century…Each mining company is held liable separately for any of the damages they caused…These mining companies together have formed the Occupational Lung Disease working group to deal which issues such as these.  The claims go back decades and also involve thousands of former miners from neighbouring countries such as Swaziland…The suit has been taken to court again. May's class action is believed to have paved the way to justice for these miners.  The size and the scope of the class action is unprecedented…The gold mining companies have challenged almost every aspect of the judgement…[Refers to African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold]