South Africa's gold mines and the politics of silicosis
• Why did South African mines become renowned for mine safety, while the mounting rate of silicosis in black migrant workers lay hidden for over a century?
• How complicit were regulating officers in the operation of the gold mines’ apartheid health and safety policies?
• Why and how was tuberculosis among black migrant miners not disclosed, perpetuating a cycle of disease (and death) and allowing the infection to spread to neighbouring states? The first crisis of 1896–1912 focused on the minority white workers and resulted in industry investing heavily on reducing dust levels. The second began in 2000 with mounting scientific evidence that the disease rate among black migrant miners is more than a hundred times higher than officially acknowledged. This has resulted in class actions against operating companies.
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