Silicosis case

In October 2015, former workers on South Africa's gold mines took more than 30 companies to court. The mine workers asked the South Gauteng High Court for permission to bring a class action against the companies, on behalf of all miners who have silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) as a result of their exposure to silica dust since 1965, and of the families of all miners who have died of silicosis and TB. Here are articles relevant to this court case that GroundUp has published. 

Important update

On 26 July 2019 the Gauteng High Court approved a R5 billion settlement agreement between miners and six large mining companies. This is how you can register for a claim:

Who qualifies?

You qualify if:

  • You are a mineworker who is sick with silicosis or TB and worked at one of these gold mines from 12 March 1965.
  • You are a dependent (wife, child or life partner) of a mineworker who has died and who got sick with silicosis and/or TB and worked at one of these gold mines anytime from 12 March 1965.

Myekelwa Mkenyane is a former miner who has silicosis. Photo by Thom Pierce.

Myekelwa Mkenyane (49) from Amadiba in the Eastern Cape is sick with silicosis and an applicant in the case. He worked in mines for 25 years. He received R36,000 compensation. "I am at home now and my wife died. My neighbours and my children take care of me," he says. Photo by Thom Pierce.

Main articles

The long battle to get the mines to cough up.

Understanding the silicosis judgment

Seminal judgment of the South Gauteng High Court certifying silicosis and TB sub-classes, 13 May 2016 (PDF, 5MB)

Landmark silicosis settlement made order of court

Court case, South Gauteng High Court, October 2015

Judgment delivered on 13 May 2016: Miners win case for class certification

Day one and two (12 and 13 October): Sick miners in court for landmark silicosis case

Day three (14 October): Court hears whether silicosis miners can bring class action

Day four (15 October): Silicosis: mining companies hit back in court

Day five (16 October): Unfortunately we were unable to report on day five.

Day six (19 October): Mines not liable for TB, silicosis hearing told

Day seven (20 October): Silicosis: Anglo American joins the fray

Day eight (21 October): Anglo American plays the race card

Day nine (22 October): Mines are being obstructive, say miners’ lawyers

Analysis and opinion

Silicosis: an epidemic of racism?

The scandal of South Africa’s sick miners

Sick miners: time for the mines to share the burden

Will gold miners get justice?

The lawyers argue over racism

Lawyers in black and white: Spoor vs Boqwana

Black advocates tell court they object to 'racist sting'

Older news articles

Landmark silicosis case reaches a milestone

Silicosis class action bolstered by Appeal Court ruling

Litigation has been ongoing for ten years


Law | 7 February 2023

Two years after landmark silicosis settlement, no one has been paid

Tshiamiso Trust says terms were only reached in late 2019 and Covid-19 has delayed the process


Feature | 20 July 2020

Landmark silicosis settlement made order of court

“This agreement can never make full redress for the loss and harm suffered by gold mine workers and their families and communities over the last 100 years,” says judge


Law | 26 July 2019

Six mining groups ask court to approve R5 billion silicosis settlement

But some mines will continue to fight class action suit


Law | 30 May 2019

Sick miners to get up to R500k

Historic settlement reached in silicosis case


News | 3 May 2018

Mines report progress in preventing deadly silicosis

But very little information on dust monitoring


News | 12 February 2018

Silicosis case: we’re close to a settlement, say lawyers for both sides

Gold mines drop their plan to appeal against court ruling


Brief | 10 January 2018

Understanding the silicosis judgment

Hundreds of thousands of families could benefit from the class action lawsuit that can now take place


Analysis | 16 May 2016