The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Wednesday postponed the silicosis and tuberculosis class action litigation to March “in the best interests of judicial economy and the efficient administration of justice”.

The postponement to March 19-23 comes after attorneys representing all appellants and all respondents involved in the appeal wrote to the Registrar of the SCA asking that the appeal proceedings be postponed until further notice.

Gold producers, known as the industry working group, and including African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye Stillwater, are appealing the 2015 South Gauteng High Court ruling for them to compensate workers who contracted occupational lung cancer.

In October 2015, former workers on South Africa’s gold mines took more than 30 companies to court asking for permission to bring a class action against the companies on behalf of more than 100,000 miners who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) as a result of their exposure to silica dust since 1965.

The class members are represented by Richard Spoor Inc, Abrahams Kiewietz Inc and the Legal Resources Centre.

Since the class action was successfully brought, the companies said that they were committed to finding solutions to what they call “a legacy issue” in the sector, and have since provisionally set aside between $30 million and $100 million for a possible settlement.

A joint letter by the parties explains that good faith settlement negotiations between the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group and claimants’ legal representatives have reached an advanced stage. 

– African News Agency