Sunday, September 28, 2003

Gold Fields to fight lawsuit

Johannesburg - Gold Fields, the second-largest gold producer in South Africa, will vigorously defend a lawsuit brought against to it by the company's former employees, said company officials on Monday.Ed Fagan, an American lawyer, and his South African counterpart, John Ngcebetsha, were expected to file the lawsuit in New York on Monday on behalf of Gold Fields' former workers. Fagan and Ngcebetsha claim that Gold Fields exposed more than 500 of its former employees to "dangerous working conditions leading to uranium contamination", and they seek compensation for that, Business Day reported on Monday. Willie Jacobsz of Gold Fields said the company received a letter from Fagan on April 22 telling them he and Ngcebetsha intended suing the gold producer. "I read that they may file; it could be today (Monday) that something could come up," Jacobsz said, adding Gold Fields had not yet received letters confirming that Fagan had filed the lawsuit. Business Day reported that Gold Fields was taking the lawsuit seriously, and would strenuously defend it. Fagan and Ngcebetsha demand compensation of up to $7bn (about R52bn). Ngcebetsha and Fagan are claiming billions of rands from Sasol, De Beers and Anglo American on behalf of victims of apartheid.