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Court approves R5bn settlement in gold miners' silicosis case

The agreement, on behalf of thousands of mineworkers, affects people who contracted the disease during or after being employed as gold miners from 1965.

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 - The High Court in Johannesburg has approved a historic R5 billion settlement in the ongoing silicosis case involving thousands of mineworkers.

The agreement affects workers who contracted the disease during or after being employed in gold mines from 1965.

The court found that all the parties made an effort to ensure that the settlement was reasonable, adequate and fair.

The silicosis case has been described as one of the most complex class action lawsuits to date and now it has finally come to an end with a R5 billion settlement.

This means that thousands of gold miners who contracted silicosis or pulmonary tuberculosis during or after their employment from 1965 will be paid out between R70,000 and R500,000 depending on which category they fall into.

Judge Leoni Windell said the terms of the settlement agreement demonstrated that they succeeded in their efforts.

In May, lawyers representing the miners joined forces with mining groups in a bid to get the court to approve the settlement.