Asbestosis class action settlement
Won compensation for claimants who worked for or were environmentally exposed to asbestos from the operations of asbestos mining companies and who had an asbestos-related disease.READ MORE
Successfully fended off attempts by Anglo American to interdict the RSI from speaking out on behalf of our clients.READ MORE
Manganese infection settlement
Settled compensation claims from the Assmang’s workers manganese infections.READ MORE
Established gold mines’ liability to workers with silicosis in the Mankayi judgment.
Access to occupational health reports
Required the state to provide workers with access to occupation accident reports in the Paarl Print judgment.READ MORE
Silicosis class action certified
RSI certified as silicosis class representatives together with Abrahams Kiewitz and Legal Resources Centre in the First Nkala judgment.
Environmental Preservation of Barberton Nature Reserve
Protected the historic Barberton Nature Reserve from gold mining.READ MORE
Strict liability requirement
Established strict liability for employers breach of statutory occupational health duties.READ MORE
Prosecution of Lily Mine’s Management
Secured a finding that Lily Mine’s management should be prosecuted on behalf of AMCU and the victims’ families.
Listeriosis class action certified
RSI certified as representatives of the listeriosis class action together with LHL in the Ngobeni judgment.
Eviction defense and
Successfully defended our Dingleton clients from an eviction application brought by Kumba Iron Ore and negotiated landmark resettlement agreements.READ MORE
The Right to Say No
Established the requirement of prior and informed consent before a mining right can be granted on customary land through the Xolobeni judgment.READ MORE
Silicosis class action settlement
Secured judgment approving the silicosis class action settlement in the Second Nkala judgment.
Environmental Restoration and
Negotiated the final terms of the restoration of coastal land hosting the Wild Coast Sun casino to the Mgungundlovu Communal Property Association and defended the CPA from a litigious takeover.
Access to mining right applications
Established the requirement of obliging the state to provide communities access to mining right applications in the second Xolobeni judgment.READ MORE
Negotiated a groundbreaking settlement between the Motlhotlo community and Anglo American Platinum.READ MORE
Covid-19 Guidelines for mineworkers
Compelled the Minister of Mineral Resources to develop binding guidelines to protect mineworkers from COVID-19.READ MORE
Shell Exploration Right Review
Represented affected communities in interdicting and reviewing Shell’s exploration license, preventing unlawful natural gas exploration off the Wild Coast.READ MORE
TKLA declared invalid
Challenged Parliament’s compliance with constitutional obligations to facilitate public involvement before passing the Act.READ MORE
Silicosis appeal dismissed
The SCA held that certification has no final and definitive effect on the class action and is thus, not appealable. The Nkala decision of the High Court was upheld.READ MORE
For more than 30 years, RSI attorneys have harnessed South Africa’s legal system to defend the rights and interests of vulnerable, marginalised individuals and groups. Our clients are mineworkers and trade unionists; commercial organisations and communities, people dispossessed of their land; victims of industrial and occupational neglect or abuse. They must navigate a legal landscape that privileges the State and large corporate entities – and RSI is proud to walk alongside them throughout that journey. We listen to our clients’ stories. We understand their challenges. Through landmark judgments, pioneering settlements and targeted litigation, we empower them. We also contribute to shaping South African case law so that the principles of fairness, dignity and justice enshrined in the nation’s Constitution become a reality for all.
In the more than three decades of legal experience enshrined at RSI, the firm has become a leader in the fields of occupational health and safety, workplace injuries and diseases, land law and class action litigation.
Two of our most notable settlements were achieved with South African mining company Gencor and Swiss multinational Eternit on behalf of asbestos mine workers. These led to the creation of both the Asbestos Relief Trust and the Kgalagadi Relief Trust. Collectively to date, the entities have paid out more than R320 million to thousands of mine workers sickened by asbestos exposure, or to their dependents. A landmark case followed on behalf of goldmine workers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis on the job, and became the largest class action settlement in South African history. The Tshiamiso Trust, established as part of the settlement, had by early 2022 already paid out R173 million to sick mineworkers and their families.
Our close engagement with mineworkers has given the team painful insight into the devastating effects mines often have on their workers and host communities. We provide efficient, client-focused support for litigation and negotiation to mine-affected communities across South Africa.
Our work on land rights extends beyond the mining sphere. We negotiate complex community transactions in the tourism and agriculture sectors, advocating on behalf of our clients for good governance in land reform entities like trusts and communal property associations.
The firm’s pioneering class actions have led to similar litigation in other arenas. We are the court-certified class action representatives for victims of Tiger Brands’ 2017/2018 deadly listeriosis outbreak. We are also suing the coal mining industry on behalf of victims of black lung disease.
We work alongside some of the world’s leading plaintiffs’ firms, among them Marler Clark and Motley Rice, to hone our skills and gain global insights.
Estelle de Villiers