Silicosis certification hearing: 12th–23rd October 2015 activities

Court hearings from 12th – 23rd October in a landmark case in which hundreds of thousands of mineworkers who contracted silicosis and/or tuberculosis in South Africa’s gold mines seek justice.

Powerful interactive photographic exhibition of the 56 miners and families who are applicants in the case at the Central Methodist Church (media launch 12th October).

Over 1000 people from TAC, Sonke & AMCU will march via Anglo American in Marshalltown to South Gauteng High Court (Tuesday 13th October).

Hundreds of people will picket outside the court while TB/silicosis literacy training, and HIV/TB testing (12th, 13th, 14th October) are offered.

Solidarity activities to happen in London.

In August, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) were admitted as amici curiae (friends of the court) in a landmark case in which hundreds of thousands of mineworkers who contracted silicosis and/or tuberculosis in South Africa’s gold mines seek justice.

It allows the TAC and Sonke to participate in a hearing from 12th to 23rd October that will hear arguments regarding the certification of the class. If certified the class will be the largest by far ever to be certified in South Africa. It will allow hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise would be unable to access justice – mainly because they are too poor or too sick – to seek redress for the devastating illnesses.

The conduct of the gold mining industry has left thousands sick or dead, entrenched cycles of inequality and poverty for many women, and left many communities destitute. The TAC and Sonke look forward to contributing towards achieving a measure of justice for this long and tragic history of rights violations.

Monday 12th October to Friday 23rd October 2015.
The court hearings will be from 9am to 4pm each day.

*The arguments of the mineworkers and TAC/Sonke as amici will be heard on the first three days of the hearing, after which the 32 mine companies will make their arguments.

South Gauteng High Court
Pritchard St, Johannesburg, 2001



WHEN: Monday 12th October, 5pm – 7.30pm (Drinks and snacks provided for media launch)
WHERE: Central Methodist Church

Photographer Thom Pierce was commissioned by the TAC and Sonke to collect portraits and audio clips of each of the 56 applicants in the silicosis class action. This includes both miners and their partners and caregivers. This will be exhibited in a multimedia interactive exhibition at the Central Methodist Church during the 12th – 14th October. The exhibition will be set up in a dark space to give the effect of being underground. Each visitor will be provided with a mine hat upon entering, in order to light a path.

During the media launch, representatives from the media will be shown around the interactive exhibition, following which there will be a programme of speakers including lawyers for the main applicants, SECTION27 as lawyers representing the Amici, as well as representatives from TAC, Sonke and AMCU. Thom Pierce will also recount his experiences of his 20-day journey collecting the photographs. Media packs will be provided with short quotes and information on each applicant together with their photograph.

*The photographic exhibition will be open to the public all day from Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th October. The exhibition space will also host information sessions and discussions relevant to the class action that will be live-streamed to wider audiences.


Tuesday 13th October, 9am – 1pm
Assemble – 9am
Leave – 9.30am
Arrive at Anglo Gold Offices in Marshalltown – 10.30am
Arrive at South Gauteng High Court – 11.30am
Picket – 11.30am – 4pm

Assemble – Cnr of Mirriam Makeba Street and Lilian Ngoyi Street
Newtown (near the Market Theatre)
Anglo American – 45 Main St, Marshalltown

On the second day of the hearings we will mobilise more than 1000 people to the streets of Johannesburg from TAC, Sonke, and AMCU. Comrades will march with banners saying “Justice For the Miners” and “Cough Up the Money”, carrying placards with the faces of certain mining company CEOs, and wearing mineworker’s hard hats. The hats will be piled ceremoniously to show a graveyard of hats symbolising the lives lost due to silicosis and tuberculosis. Flyers and posters will be distributed across Johannesburg to ensure widespread knowledge of the case. A large banner will be hung from Sonke offices opposite Nelson Mandela Bridge. Spokespeople will be available for comment
throughout the day.


WHEN: Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th October, 9am – 4pm
WHERE: South Gauteng High Court, Pritchard St, Johannesburg, 2001

Each day more than 500 people will picket outside the South Gauteng High Court in support of justice for the miners and their families. TB and HIV testing will take place in the car park next to the court. Silicosis and TB literacy training will happen during the days. Information will be passed to the public to understand the case.

Lotti Rutter //
Ntsiki Mpulo //
Tanya Charles //

You can view the blog of photographer, Thom Pierce, as he journeyed through the back roads of South Africa’s Eastern Cape and Free State provinces via the mountains of Lesotho to document the people at the forefront of the case against the mining giants. Thom covered vast distances over the 20 days to capture their stories and images, this has culminated in the exhibition:

You can find more background on the case here: