Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business
A lawyer representing miners speaks to journalists outside the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, after the judge allowed a class action against mining companies over the respiratory disease silicosisAFP

Enterprise

S.African mining companies appeal silicosis ruling

A lawyer representing miners speaks to journalists outside the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, after the judge allowed a class action against mining companies over the respiratory disease silicosisAFP

A lawyer representing miners speaks to journalists after the judge allowed a class action against mining companies over the respiratory disease silicosis/AFP

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 3 – South African mining companies said Friday they had appealed against a court ruling allowing hundreds of thousands of miners to sue for damages over lung disease contracted at work.

A High Court last month allowed former and current mine workers employed by the country’s main gold mining firms since 1965 to proceed with a class action against the companies.

The court decision cleared the way for up to half-a-million miners to sue for damages resulting from silicosis — a deadly respiratory condition developed from breathing in fine silica dust that can be found in places such as mines.

The miners accuse 30 subsidiaries of seven companies including African Rainbow Minerals, AngloAmerican, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Gold Fields and Sibanye Gold of knowingly and systematically failing to protect workers against the disease that inflames and scars the lungs.

In a joint statement, those six companies said they have filed individual applications to appeal against the “class certification judgement handed down by the South Gauteng High Court on 13 May 2016”.

They are appealing because they believe that the court’s ruling on some “highly complex and important” issues of fact and law was “incorrect and that another court may come to a different decision”.

It could not be immediately established if the seventh firm, DRDGold had also lodged an application to appeal.

A group of about 60 former miners brought the case, which is set to expand to involve thousands of elderly men from the poorest rural areas of South Africa as well as Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Mozambique.

If the companies fail in their appeal, the class action will be the biggest ever in South Africa, although many miners have already died from respiratory diseases allegedly caused by their jobs.

Some studies have found silicosis prevalence in South African gold mines at between 22 and 36 percent of all workers among the highest rates in the world.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The mining companies hinted in their statement that they may seek an out-of-court settlement.

While denying liability for the claims, the companies said they are of the “view that a fair and sustainable settlement is preferable to long and protracted litigation”.

Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...

Ask Kirubi

It is without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the whole world by surprise. Although its full impact is yet to be...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...