The high court in Johannesburg has certified a class action by mineworkers against gold mining companies in South Africa.
Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo said at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg Friday, 13 May 2016.
Class action is the only realistic option through which most mineworkers can assert their constitutional rights
If it hadn’t been authorized, “impoverished, indigent workers won’t be able to access justice,” he said.
After examining legal prescripts‚ we reached a conclusion that there are sufficient issues to certify a class action where there would be two classes; the silicosis class and the TB class
As reported by Bloomberg, lawyers for the applicants say, the judgment allows about 200,000 former gold miners suffering from the diseases to join the class action lawsuit that would sue 32 mining companies for damages caused by unsafe working conditions.
What is Silicosis
Silicosis as defined by Lung.org:
Silicosis: A lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Over time, exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can harm your ability to breathe.
Current and former underground mineworkers who contracted silicosis and pulmonary tuberculosis constitute the class, as do families of employees who have died from the diseases, Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo said.
— Erin Conway-Smith (@ejcs) May 13, 2016
#silicosis unprecedented court ruling allowing thousands of miners to sue companies in a class action suit
— Debora Patta (@Debora_Patta) May 13, 2016
— David McKenzie (@McKenzieCNN) May 13, 2016