At least 2,000 Batswana ex-miners have joined class action against South African gold mining companies following revelations that their employment in gold mines could have exposed them to life threatening respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis.
This was disclosed by Kitso Phiri, Coordinator of the Silicosis project at Ditshwanelo Centre for Human Rights. Phiri said that the centre is currently registering some Batswana for the purpose of submitting their names to lawyers who are handling the case in South Africa; further urging Batswana who have worked in gold mines in South Africa to come forward with documentary evidence.
Such documentary evidence includes passports, mine identification cards and medical cards amongst others.
“We believe there are more ex-miners who have not yet registered and we call on them to come forward,” said Phiri.
According to Phiri, the center has been receiving a lot of help from district councils around the country. South African mines used to be the main employer of young men in the sub region in the early years. But the number of Batswana who seek employment in South African mines has greatly decreased as more mines have been opened shop in the country.