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9 Okt 2015

Marcus Low, Treatment Action Campaign, on GroundUp (So. Africa)

South Africa: Will Gold Miners Get Justice?

…[O]ur gold mines, over decades, systematically exposed their mostly poor and black workers to dangerous levels of silica dust knowing it would kill them…The historian Jock McCulloch has shown that the history of silicosis in South Africa is deeply interwoven with our history of racial discrimination…The specific conditions around silicosis and the gold mines made it easy for [mining companies and the state] to get away with it - the workers involved had little or no access to justice, existing compensation systems were severely dysfunctional, and…silicosis develops slowly and the scarring is hidden inside the body…In the case of Nkala and others v Harmony and others, three sets of lawyers representing 56 former miners will seek to hold the entire gold mining industry in South Africa accountable for the failure to protect the health of workers…If the former mine workers are successful, the companies will have to fork out billions of rand in compensation. The case…is also about creating accountability to ensure that gold mines clean up their act and ensure that current and future mine workers are not exposed to unsafe levels of silica dust…

Part of the following timelines

So. Africa: Lawyers for gold miners affected by silicosis to argue before Johannesburg High Court why mining companies should be held accountable

Gold miner silicosis litigation (re So. Africa)