Building Community Voice through Litigation?

Lessons from the Silicosis Class Action Suit in South Africa

The entire South African gold mining industry is currently on trial. In a historic lawsuit, 32 gold mining companies, collectively comprising all the major mining houses, are being sued by 56 litigants who are current mineworkers, former mineworkers, or widows of former mine-workers. The miners and their families are seeking damages from the mining companies for silicosis and/or tuberculosis acquired while working in the gold mines. These 56 are only the tip of the iceberg: they potentially represent hundreds of thousands of affected individuals.