Today, SACBC Justice and Peace Commission has announced that it is helping sick miners
who are about to sue the coal mining for failing to protect them from black lung disease.
“As Church, we are always close to the sick and the marginalized in the society. Our work
with sick miners is both about healing and restoration of justice. ” says Bishop Gabuza, the
chair person for SACBC Justice and Peace Commission.

Pneumoconiosis, also called black lung disease, is a preventable but incurable disease that is
contracted in coal mines through inadequate protection from coal dust. 
“For decades, coal mining companies knowingly allowed their workers to be exposed to
unsafe levels of coal dust.  The mines need to take both ethical and legal responsibility for the
sick miners.” Says Bishop Gabuza.

South Africa is one of the countries with highest prevalence rate on black lung disease.
“The fact that South Africa has hundreds of sick miners from coal industry is an indictment
on corporate greed in the mining sector and its insistence on profit over the dignity of mine
workers.”  Says Bishop Gabuza.

He added that this situation is also “an indictment on the coal-based economy in South
Africa.    The human cost of coal-based economy should remind our country of the urgent
need to transition to clean energy.”
The sick miners are from Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu
Natal.   “Most of the miners who become sick were sent home with little or no compensation
after working in mines that have generated millions of Rands for their shareholders.”  Says
Bishop Gabuza.

Ndwamato Ratshikakale is one of the sick who will be involved as an applicant in the class
action.   He worked in Tshikondeni coal mine in Limpopo from 22 years.  He was retrenched
after contracting occupational illness. He received no compensation for his illness.  He tries
to survive on subsistence farming.   He is one of the sick miners seeking restoration of
justice.

“I have tried to get work for the last 20 years but my health has not allowed me to,’ he said
“My family tries to survive through subsistence farming.  Recently, the doctors have however
told me to stop because of exposure of dust.  I am not alone who is sick.  There are hundreds
of us.  The coal mines should be held accountable for failing to prevent and respond to our
lung disease.’

Ndou Tshifhwa Constance, the Widow of Pfuluwani Maulta Noel, is 51 years old and lives in
Limpopo.  Her husband worked on the mines for more than ten years.  He died from black
lung disease.  He was retrenched due to his medical condition but never received any
compensation.

“I have four kids.  Now I struggle to survive through temporary jobs.  I hope that we win the
case against the coal mines so that I can get enough money to pay for further education for
my children.”

SACBC Justice and Peace Commission hopes that the legal action will restore justice and
dignity to hundreds of miners who contracted black lung disease while working in South
Africa’s coal mines.

For more information: 
Bishop Abel Gabuza.
Cell number:  082 549 4324
Phone number: 053 831 1861 or 053 831 1862.
Email: dagabuza@gmail.com
Archbishop William Slattery: Cell: 083 468 5473
Thami – Contact person for Richard Spoors Attorneys:
Cell: 073 632 8286
Email: thami@rsinc.co.za

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