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ANC Eastern Cape welcomes R5 billion settlement to silicon victims

May 7, 2018
ANC Eastern Cape welcomes R5 billion settlement to silicon victims

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape on Sunday said that it welcomes the R5 billion ($400 million) class action settlement on Thursday with law firms representing thousands of miners, who contracted the fatal lung diseases - silicosis and tuberculosis.

"The class action suit was launched six years ago on behalf of miners suffering from silicosis, an incurable disease caused by inhaling silica dust from gold-bearing rocks," described ANC EC Communications Manager, Gift Ngqondi.

"Almost all the claimants are black miners from South Africa and neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, who were not provided with adequate protection during and after apartheid rule ended in 1994."

Ngqondi said that the majority of the claimants and intended beneficiaries are from the Eastern Cape and the victory is a relief to many, who have for years hired lawyers,staged protests in front of government offices and buildings demanding to be listened to on their plight.

"Some have passed on but in addition to the settlement payout, there is also close to R4 billion in a compensation fund which companies have been contributing to for years, which will go to affected miners or the families of those who died from the diseases," he added.

"Since most of the beneficiaries are from deep rural towns of the Eastern Cape wherein there is lack of access to information, we strongly appeal to all public representatives from the Ward Committee's, Ward Councillors, War Rooms reps and Government Communications Information Services (GCIS) to start awareness campaigns to inform them about this victory.

"Our primary health care clinics and hospitals must assist in medical checkups .

"This is a victory to the poor and the working class, who have endured pain and suffering after working for many in those mines."