goldbarsFranny Rabkin writes that the High Court in Johannesburg’s certification on Friday of the silicosis class action was only the first step on a very long road to compensation for mine workers suffering the debilitating effects of silicosis and tuberculosis (TB).  

It was momentous as it could see up to 500,000 miners claiming damages from SA’s gold mining companies.  The class action trail will literally be putting the gold mining industry in the dock.  The mineworkers hope to show that, through the Chamber of Mines, the producers acted “in concert” in breaching their duties to protect the workers from the harmful effects of silica dust, which causes silicosis and increases the risk of TB.  The evidence submitted will seek to reveal how the mines’ racist and discriminatory practices meant that black workers suffered silicosis and TB disproportionately to white mine workers, and that the companies avoided accountability and compensation as a result of the migrant labour system.  

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