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30 Aug 2015

Greg Nicholson, Daily Maverick (So. Africa)

So. Africa: Admission of NGOs as friends of the court in Silicosis case will test boundaries of class action law, says analyst

'Silicosis: court lets NGOs join class action', 30 Aug 2015:…Sonke Gender Justice and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)…[have been permitted] to join a class action that could affect as many as 200,000 current and former mineworkers. The organisations…accepted as friends of the court…will highlight the impact silicosis has had on communities, particularly women and girls, in labour-sending areas and question the denial of the mineworkers' constitutional rights…Their attempt to join the case was opposed by 18 of the 32 gold mining companies involved…“The entry of TAC and Sonke…” said Section27's John Stephens…could have a crucial impact on whether the class is certified…Normally, the court would look at the similarities in a class action's applicants and whether it makes sense to allow them to proceed as a collective…Because this case now includes constitutional rights violations…the civil society organisations will push the court to…consider…bypass[ing] the need to certify the class. Not only could it help accelerate the current case, but it will test the boundaries of class action law in SA…