The story of Zanele Mbuyisa, a South African lawyer who represented over 4000 mine workers who had contracted lung related diseased from working in unsafe mines.​
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Outstanding achievement - Zanele Mbuyisa

Posted by: Laurence Simons 01/07/16

Though the media is always eager to report on legal professionals who show little to no regard for the law, stories which focus on the achievements of commendable members of the profession do sometimes find their way into the news. One such story to be featured in the news recently was that of Zanele Mbuyisa, a South African lawyer who represented over 4000 mine workers who had contracted lung related disease from working in unsafe mines.

Zanele Mbuyisa of Mbuyisa Neale Attorneys, assisted by human rights lawyer Richard Meeran from London law firm Leigh Day, recently reached a landmark settlement for 4,365 claimants in a long running legal battle against their former employers AngloGold mines and Anglo American operations. The claimants sued their former employers for dust-related lung diseases, silicosis and silico-tuberculosis, which they claim were contracted from working in unsafe conditions in the mines.

The overall settlement value was estimated at R500 million (£23 million), a total of R464 million will be paid into the Qhubeka Trust, which will be responsible for determining medical responsibility and payments will be made based on a tariff system which will reflect the severity of each claimant’s illness and their age. Relatives of deceased claimant will also qualify for compensation.

Welcoming the landmark settlement Zanele Mbuyisa commented "The epidemic of silicosis and TB has caused widespread suffering and misery for ex-miners, their families and communities.” She went on to speculate that thousands of other silicosis victims will have likely “died uncompensated during a period when the industry should have been well aware of the predicament and its cause.”

Richard Meeran from Leigh Day went on to add “This settlement is a triumph for justice and accountability. It will bring much needed financial relief to the victims and their families. This settlement scheme provides a model and, we hope, the necessary impetus for an industry-wide settlement for all gold mining silicosis victims.”

Tagged In: Achievement in Law
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