Silicosis mineworkers have 8 months to join class action

The High Court yesterday gave miners permission to start with a lawsuit that will include all miners.

FILE: Supporters of the sick former mineworkers outside the Johannesburg High Court. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gold mineworkers who have contracted silicosis or Tuberculosis (TB) now have eight months to indicate whether they want to be part of a historic class action lawsuit to claim compensation.

Yesterday, the High Court in Johannesburg gave miners permission to start with the lawsuit, which will include all miners' cases instead of accessing the court individually.

Over 200,000 workers and families, who lost their breadwinners, have indicated they want to be part of the class action, seeking some sort of relief for not being able to work due to diseases contracted underground.

Lawyer for the workers, Charles Abrahams, says common issues which will affect all workers will be dealt with first by the court next year.

Abrahams has explained that after this, there will be a second phase.

"Each individual miner will then be obliged to submit his or her claim and their individual claims will then be heard."

More than 200,000 workers are currently being represented with cases dating back to 1965.

Summonses will only be sent to specific gold mines in January.