Sonke and TAC apply to become ‘friends of the court’ in historic class action lawsuit

Sonke Gender Justice and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), represented by Section27, have applied to become “amici curiae” – friends of the court – in a looming landmark lawsuit by 56 miners who seek to hold South African gold mining companies accountable for failing to prevent and respond to silicosis in gold mines.

The amici question will be heard in the South Gauteng High Court on April 14-15.

The miners contracted silicosis – a deadly occupational lung disease particularly linked to gold mining – and tuberculosis (TB) while working underground in South Africa’s gold mines. In court papers, the 56 mineworkers are asking the court that they be considered as a “class”, meaning that they would represent all the current and former gold miners who are suffering from silicosis and/or TB as well as the dependents of mineworkers, including of those who have since died. Sonke and TAC want to present evidence on the gendered impact of mining disease as the dependents, especially the wives and female children of the miners, carry a heavy burden of care for ill mineworkers and this burden often translates to loss of education and employment.

Learn more about silicosis and the lawsuit by checking out our informative poster: