South African miners score legal victory over lung disease
South African gold miners who developed lung diseases while working underground can launch a class action suit against mining companies, a judge has ruled.
The ruling by deputy judge president Phineas Mojapelo opens the way to litigation involving tens of thousands of miners and spanning decades of cases.
It will put pressure on a mining industry that was a foundation of the South African economy but has struggled over the years because of rising costs.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions, a labour group, described the ruling in a Johannesburg court as a "huge victory".
Many who are now sick worked in South Africa's gold mines during apartheid, when miners rarely had the proper protective gear.
They suffer from diseases such as silicosis and tuberculosis.