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8 Jan 2004

Ronnie Morris, Business Report [So. Africa]

Asbestosis victims continue their fights while multinationals duck and dive [So. Africa]

Moral responsibility by multinational firms towards former mineworkers who are ill or dying because of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres appears to be an elusive dream. One need look no further than the shameful actions of British firm Cape when 7 500 South Africans sued for damages in the London high court…In the end, Cape agreed to settle out of court…Despite several extensions, Cape reneged on its undertakings while people continued to die of asbestos-related diseases. The company eventually paid £7.5 million…Gencor…did the honourable thing when confronted with litigation by 37 former mineworkers…Gencor agreed to settle out of court and paid a final settlement of R460.5 million. The company denied any liability. [also refers to Leigh Day, Impala Platinum, Griqualand Exploration & Finance Co., Msauli Asbes Beperk, Xstrata Coal, Wandrag Asbestos Mining Co., Lonmin]