In 2011, South Africa’s Constitutional Court in an unprecedented step classified the gold mining industry’s historical and ongoing systemic exposure of mineworkers to occupational lung disease as acts of public and private violence. In this first blog, I provide the historical and current context in which to understand this classification and how it “implicates the right to freedom and security of a person.”
Every once in a while, a major case or event will have a dramatic impact on the field of business and human rights, such that it deserves careful consideration and analysis. In the US, cases like Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum and Jesner v. Arab Bank changed the legal landscape for human rights litigation. In South Africa, the recent settlement agreement in the Nkala and Others v. Harmony Gold Mining Company and Others class action is one of the most complex multi-party class settlements in the world today.