The South Gauteng High Court here has handed down a landmark ruling which paves the way for more than 200,000 gold miners and their families to form part of a class action to claim compensation from South African mining companies for contracting silicosis.
Speaking on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Morning Live programme here Monday, activist organization Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) general secretary Anele Yawa said they were currently not sure whether the mining companies would appeal the ruling, go to trial or seek an out of court settlement.
He added: "Whatever the companies decide, we are ready for them. Gone are the days when the poor are going to be victims of the rich and powerful because they can't afford to take them to court."
Silicosis is a debilitating disease from the silica that the miners breathe in at the gold mines and exposure over a prolonged time causes silicosis.
Yawa said mines had for a long time being allowed to get away with murder. "This historic case will force employers to adhere to safety regulations," he added.
SOURCE: NAM NEWS NETWORK