Compensation fight continues for ex-miners with silicosis

The court will continue hearing arguments about class certification lodged by miners against mining companies.

FILE. 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 - Argument will continue in the High Court in Johannesburg about why a class action law suit should proceed regarding miners with silicosis who want to be compensated by gold companies.

On Monday, lawyers representing miners argued that there is sufficient commonality between the complainants to warrant a class action suit.

If the court certifies the class, it will be the largest of its kind in the country's history.

Advocate Wim Trengove has argued that if a class action doesn't proceed, then gold mine companies need to deal with thousands of individual cases which would be cumbersome.

At the same time, Geoff Budlende argued that mining companies knew the risks of exposing miners to the harmful dust underground, and didn't monitor this exposure until after 2002.

The duties of the companies to protect their employees and their constitutional rights have been raised as reasons why a class action should take place.

Members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Section 27 and Sonke Gender Justice are expected to protest outside the court again today in support of the miners.