South Africa’s Catholic Church backs sick miners in class action lawsuit against Anglo American

Lawyers for Catholic bishops and Richard Spurr have helped sick miners launch a class action lawsuit against global mining company Anglo American, seeking legal redress for sick miners and the families of workers who have died from coal pneumoconiosis disease (CMDLD).

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Richard Spoor’s application for class action certification before the Gauteng local division of the High Court of South Africa seeks to provide recourse for current and former miners and relatives of deceased workers who contracted the disease.

The request was initiated and supported by the Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa within the framework of their Commission for Justice and Peace. Anglo American’s policy emphasizes accountability and ensuring that appropriate action is taken when breaches occur, consistent with the Group and local law.

The global mining company should therefore deliver on its promise to ensure that the rights of its former employees are restored and that they receive justice and compensation in this life for the damage to their health caused by working in these mines.

Lawsuit filed against Anglo American is an important attempt to protect the rights of former employees

Cardinal Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, which launched the class action lawsuit, said: “The class action lawsuit filed against Anglo American is an important attempt to protect the rights of former employees who suffered from coal dust disease. Companies and employers have a responsibility to ensure workers have access to protective health equipment and receive appropriate training to ensure their safety. When companies fail to When able to do so, redress and compensation are critical to ensuring that affected workers have access to health care and that they have adequate means to support themselves and are able to provide for their families.”

Anglo American Group The application for certification of the class action against nine Anglo-American mining companies was filed by Richard Spoor at the Gauteng District Division of the High Court of South Africa on 18 October 2023.

The following lawsuit was filed on 15 August 2023 against South32, BHP Billiton PLC and Seriti Power, seeking recourse for current and former miners suffering from coal mine pneumoconiosis disease (CMDLD), as well as for relatives of deceased workers. Pneumoconiosis is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by exposure to coal mine dust in mines.

Anglo American Group accused of double standards

The Anglo American Group began mining in South Africa in 1917 and has since expanded its operations to 15 other countries. In line with its social policy, the company supports ethical mining, including human rights and safety, by identifying and managing social and human rights impacts and risks related to labour, safety, community, health and the environment.

But the legal team launching the class-action lawsuit has testimony from miners proving otherwise. For example, applicant Ntombi Mahlangu, who worked at the British-owned Goedehoop and Greenside coal mines between 2002 and 2008, was diagnosed with coal pneumoconiosis in May 2023. “My health was good while I was working in the mines. In recent years, my health began to deteriorate when I started experiencing chest pains, coughing and sneezing,” she explained.

“Despite my efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, my health has not returned to normal. My chest has become very heavy and the pain has increased. I have frequent coughs and wheezing. I am not receiving treatment and I rely on over-the-counter medications to relieve coughs and snoring. Sneeze,” she said. Coal miner’s pneumoconiosis is scarring or fibrosis of the lungs.

Coal pneumoconiosis and COPD

COPD is a chronic lung disease characterized by difficulty breathing and airflow limitation. Coal pneumoconiosis and COPD are both completely preventable diseases. The lawsuit alleges that while members of the coal mining industry were aware of the risks faced by coal miners, they failed to provide workers with adequate training, equipment and a safe working environment. claim

The plaintiff’s cause of action is that the defendants unlawfully breached their obligations to miners employed by them or employed in their mines under common law, existing legislation and the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

The nine defendants include: Anglo American South Africa Ltd. Tongla Resources Ltd. South Africa’s coal business Operation Tongla Tongla Resources Holdings Anglo-American Coal Company Coal mining in Mafube Busanani Energy Investment Holdings Rietflei Mining

This lawsuit is therefore a significant attempt to address the historical issues faced by coal miners who, unfortunately, have not been compensated for their suffering. If the court agrees, many miners and their families will be involved in the lawsuit. Consider the sacrifices these miners made for this work.

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