Lawyers representing mine workers who are suing De Beers and Anglo-American for their conduct under apartheid have rejected calls to settle the case.
The calls were made by asset fund managers, who are worried about the suit’s impact on the country‘s economy and foreign investment. In addition to the mining companies, there are similar lawsuits against other South African companies and banks.
The threat of even more lawsuits has already hurt values on the Johannesburg stock exchange. But mineworker lawyer John Ngcebetsha told the asset managers in a meeting that he “would be happy to take a reasonable figure, but it would only be as a last resort.” The lawsuit seeks damages of up to $6.1 billion on behalf of the mineworkers.
De Beers managing director Gary Ralfe said “during the long apartheid years, my company was a force for good. It did not exploit or profit from apartheid.”
Ngcebetsha’s American associate, Ed Fagan, first gained fame for suing the Swiss banks to get money for Holocaust victims.