The South Gauteng High Court has approved the historic ZAR5 billion silicosis class action settlement for thousands of former mineworkers who contracted pulmonary tuberculosis or silicosis on South Africa’s gold mines.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation would like to commend all those who were involved in this ground-breaking case: our partner, Sonke Gender Justice, who together with the Treatment Action Campaign as friends of the court, highlighted the gender specific impacts of silicosis and tuberculosis, and the need to provide compensation for family members of deceased mineworkers; Section27 who represented both parties in their application to certify the class in the case in 2015; and the Legal Resources Centre, Richard Spoor Inc. and Abraham Kiewitz Inc. for their tremendous work on the case.
The settlement establishes a ZAR5 billion trust to pay out compensation to eligible mine workers and their families. The important task now ahead is to ensure that the thousands of mineworkers and the families of deceased mineworkers come forward to claim.
While this settlement is an important step in the right direction, much remains to be done to limit the costs of mining to South African society and its environment.
For further comment on the approval of the settlement agreement, please refer to the class representatives from the Legal Resources Centre, Richard Spoor Inc. and Abraham Kiewitz Inc.