Miners In South Africa Suffering From Deadly Lung Disease Get $4 - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |


Miners In South Africa Suffering From Deadly Lung Disease Get $400 Million Settlement

Posted: Updated:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -

A major lawsuit against gold mining companies is gaining global attention.  Tens of thousands of South African miners will receive a portion of a $400 million settlement.

They're suffering from a deadly lung disease called silicosis after the miners inhaled dangerous dust while working underground for decades.

When CBS News first met Zwelindaba Mgidi, he didn't have much time left.  He was slowly dying from silicosis, a degenerative lung disease contracted during his 33 years underground in South Africa's gold mines.

"I just sit around at home all day," he said.  "It's very difficult and painful."

When he first entered the mine he was young, fit, and a local boxing champion.  Now, he can barely walk a few steps without a hacking cough.

Mgidi is one of up to 200,000 silicosis sufferers who was not adequately protected, allowing harmful mining dust to settle in their lungs.  Until recently, it was illegal for miners to sue a South African company for illnesses contracted while working there.

"I struggle to think of any other example anywhere in the world where so many people have got sick and died as a result of neglect," said Richard Spoor, an attorney.

Spoor has been waging a battle on behalf of miners for well over a decade.  The $400 million settlement will be distributed among at least 100,000 miners or their families.  Depending on how long they worked on the mines, they could get up to $60,000 in compensation.

Mgidi had been waiting 10 years to hear this news.

"I feel like my days are over," he told us.  "I am just waiting for the day where I will just die."

That wait was over two months ago.  Mgidi died never knowing the result of his long legal battle.  He was buried next to his parents in a grave he had chosen a long time ago and which he proudly showed us while he was still alive.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.


Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.