By BO Staff Writer
The gold mining companies which were ordered by the High Court last year to pay damages to half a million miners who contracted the fatal lung disease, silicosis and tuberculosis while working for them, are appealing the decision today at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Last year, the South Gauteng High Court ruled against mining companies in the largest class action suit the country has seen so far.
Sipho Pityana, the man who claims he wants to Save South Africa, is a board member responsible for the Social, Ethics and Sustainability Committee, at Anglogold Ashanti. It is obvious Pityana’s ethics allows for miners to be exploited and discarded without recourse.
The six mining companies, Anglo American (Africa’s largest gold producer and a multinational white-owned company), AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold, Sibanye Gold and African Rainbow Minerals, are all part of the Occupational Lung Disease (OLD) working group which is fighting the High Court’s decision and in the process, delaying from paying the sick mine workers and the families of the deceased workers, monies due to them.
After the High Court judgement last year, the OLD denied responsibility for the claims, saying, “Whilst the companies deny liability for the claims, it is nonetheless the Working Group’s view that a fair and sustainable settlement is preferable to long and protracted litigation.”
Silicosis is an incurable disease caused by inhaling silica dust from gold-bearing rocks. It causes shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest pains, and also makes people highly susceptible to tuberculosis.
Given the long history of exploitation and negligence of mining companies, the mining companies should have been found guilty a long time ago.
Companies like Pityana’s Anglogold have used black workers to gain their enormous wealth. Now that they are sick and suffering, they are using that same wealth to dodge paying them.