Bongani Nkala and 55 Others v Harmony Gold Mining Company Ltd and 31 Others

The High Court in Johannesburg has today certified a class action brought by mineworkers against gold mining companies in SA.

In their judgment in the application for class certification in Bongani Nkala and 55 Others v Harmony Gold Mining Company Ltd and 31 Others the deputy judge president of the High Court in Johannesburg‚ Phineas Mojapelo‚ today said in court:  "After examining legal prescripts‚ we reached a conclusion that there are sufficient issues to certify a class action where there would be two classes: the silicosis class; and the TB class‚"

The actions against the mining companies can now continue, with two classes being constituted:

  • Current and former underground workers who had worked for two years in one of the mines from 1965 and contracted TB‚ and
  • The workers who contracted silicosis.

The classes also constitute dependants whose parents died after contracting silicosis and TB while working at the mines.

In its judgment‚ the court said the gold mining industry in SA left in its trail tens of thousands of mineworkers suffering from incurable silicosis and pulmonary TB.

The judge said potential class members may range in numbers from 17‚000-500‚000.