Finally in March 2013 the Legal Resources Centre (“LRC”) brought an application against one mining company.All five applications were consolidated into one in August 2013.These Commissions found the inhalation of excessive silica dust to be the sole cause of silicosis.
It has grown over the years spreading to other parts of the country (significantly the Free State).
In due course it became a significant contributor to the growth of the gross domestic product of South Africa and rewarded handsomely those who invested in it.
When symptoms of the disease appear within ten years, then silicosis would be regarded as “accelerated silicosis”.
Recent studies suggest an increase in “accelerated silicosis”.
 There were other studies and investigations, including some by the mining industry itself, which made similar findings.
These developments sketch and lay down a wide carpet of information that became available and accessible to those involved in the gold mining industry.
The applicants seek to bring a class action on behalf of current and past underground mineworkers who contracted silicosis or TB, and on behalf of the dependants of mineworkers who died of silicosis or TB contracted while employed in the gold mines.
The applicants seek an order for certification of one consolidated class action comprising of two classes, namely a silicosis class and a TB class, against companies operating in the gold mining industry.
It is characterised by fibrosis of the lungs, which entails the replacement of normal tissue with connective (“collagenous” or “scar”) tissue that obstructs and impairs the normal functioning of the lung. It can be a completely disabling disease, and in many cases it is fatal. The onset of its symptoms and disability can ensue several years after exposure.
A person may be diagnosed with silicosis for the first time long after such person has worked in the gold mines.
Where there is reference to only the applicants and not to the putative class members, they will be referred to as “applicant mineworkers” and where there is a reference to a particular mining company only it will be referred to by its name, for example, Anglo American South Africa Ltd (the twenty-seventh respondent) will be referred to as “Anglo American”. Its magnitude and the range of legal representatives involved is unprecedented.