NGOs apply to intervene in possible gold mine class action suit

2015-08-20 22:31
(File)

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The High Court in Johannesburg will hear an application by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Sonke Gender Justice next week for them to intervene as amicus curiae (friends of the court) in a possible class action suit against South African gold mines. 

“For decades, gold mines have treated their workers as inferior human beings and shown a shocking disregard for the health of these workers,” TAC general secretary Anele Yawa said in a statement. 

“The exploitation of mostly poor black workers mirrors the apartheid and colonialist exploitation of workers that we have seen throughout the continent. That even in post-apartheid South Africa, the rights of mine workers are routinely violated is a national disgrace.”

Their application was expected to be heard on August 24 and 25. 

From October 12 to 23, the High Court in Johannesburg will hear argument on whether the case should be permitted to proceed as a "class action". 

The case involves thousands of current and former gold mineworkers as well as dependents of deceased workers, who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis, allegedly as a result of their exposure to silica dust while working in South African gold mines.

"It is the view of Sonke and the TAC that should the court decline to certify the class, it would effectively leave thousands of people without access to justice – unable to access the compensation due to them because they do not have the resources to access courts through any other means except a class action." 

The NGOs said the class action, if successful, would be the largest ever in South Africa and would have widespread ramifications for mineworkers, their families and the gold mining industry.
 
"Affected mineworkers have initiated a class action against 32 gold mining companies, collectively the entire South African gold mining industry, to claim compensation for their illnesses. If successful, the class of affected mineworkers could include hundreds of thousands of people."

The NGOs made the application to intervene as amicus curiae to "raise important legal arguments and present evidence that otherwise would not be before the court".

"In short, we want to put the Constitution on the table in this case," Yawa said.

"When considering this matter, the court must take into account the Constitutionally guaranteed rights we all have to access healthcare, bodily integrity and dignity."

The TAC would also picket outside the court on August 24 and 25, and outside the offices of the Teba miners recruitment agency in Idutywa and Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape on August 24 as "many of the affected miners over the years have come from these areas". 

Read more on:    tac  |  sonke gender justice network  |  mining

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Jordaan missing in action

2016-09-25 00:00

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.