A legal opinion has been prepared for the Centre for Environmental Rights by Kate Hofmeyr and Nick Ferreira on Class Actions in repsect of damages arising from mining activities.
The opinion concludes:
The harm caused by mining to communities appears to be well suited for adjudication by means of class action. In the right circumstances, the following requirements will be met:
- The class is so numerous as to make joinder of all the members of the class is impracticable;
- There will be common questions of fact and law; and
- Suitable class representatives will be available fairly and adequately to represent the members of the class.
NEMA appears to provide a clear basis for class actions to be pursued for breaches of legislation which seeks to protect the environment and the use of natural resources. It may therefore be utilised, in appropriate cases, by communities seeking to claim damages for harm done to the environment by mining activities.