Johannesburg - Two civic organisations were expected to find out on Tuesday whether their application to intervene in what could be a precedent-setting class action against gold mines has been a success.
On Monday, an application by Sonke Gender Justice and the Treatment Action Campaign to intervene as amici curiae (friends of the court) was brought before Deputy Judge President of the high court in Joburg, Phineas Mojapelo and Judges Bashir Vally and Leonie Windell, in the gold-mining silicosis and TB case.
The class-action lawsuit has been filed by Richard Spoor Attorneys, Abrahams Kiewitz Inc and the Legal Resources Centre against 32 gold mining companies, comprising the South African gold mining industry.
There are two classes, consisting of current and former gold miners and the dependants of those who have died as a result of silicosis, and then there are the current and former gold miners who have contracted TB and the dependants of those who have died as a result of pulmonary TB.
Silicosis is caused by the inhalation of silica dust produced during blasting operations. It is characterised by inflammation and scarring of the upper lobes of the lungs and is a latent disease, meaning it can appear years after exposure to the dust.