Asbestos action in South Africa
WDM campaigned on asbestos between 1997 and 2001
Thousands of people in the Northern Cape and Northern Province of South Africa suffer from asbestos-related diseases because of the blue and brown asbestos mining, milling and manufacturing operations undertaken by the English company, Cape Plc. Cape's own graphs show that dust levels at one South African mine were 12 to 35 times higher than permitted levels in Britain, where the dangers of asbestos had long been well-known.
WDM campaigned with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) to build public support for the 7,500 asbestos victims, who were suing Cape Plc for failing to observe their ‘duty of care’. Claimants, represented by the solicitors Leigh Day & Co, first brought the case against Cape in 1997. However, the company argued that the case should be heard in the South African courts until, in July 2000, five Law Lords unanimously ruled that the case should be heard in the UK. The trial date had been set for April 2002. However, in November 2001, Cape agreed to enter into a dialogue to reach a settlement - by December they had settled out of court, agreeing a compensation package worth £21 million.
For further information on the campaign please contact:
- Action for South Africa (ACTSA) http://www.actsa.org