Class action the ‘only option’ in silicosis case

Lawyers say miners have a constitutional right to compensation for contracting the disease while working.

Members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) & Sonke Gender Justice protesting outside court to show their support for ex-miners seeking compensation for contracting silicosis while working underground. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers representing miners suffering from silicosis have argued that a class action suit is the best way to proceed with this case.

The High Court in Johannesburg is hearing arguments about which process would be most appropriate for the miners to sue for compensation.

Miners who worked in the gold mines want to be paid out by the companies they worked for as a result of being exposed to the harmful dust.

#Silicosis Class action case. Supporters outside Joburg High Court. GN pic.twitter.com/Sn8XDeVftT

Advocate Wim Trengove says the only way to proceed with this case is through a class action suit.

He has argued that there are hundreds of thousands of miners who suffer from silicosis, and dealing with each case individually would be cumbersome.

Trengove says that if the miners are successful, it could present opportunities for many others suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis resulting from harmful exposure.

He says they have a constitutional right to be compensated, and it's now just a matter of how.

Meanwhile dozens of members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Sonke Gender Justice are protesting outside court to show their support for the miners.