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By Chisom Jenniffer Okoye


Listeria class action gaining pace

The affidavits of about 100 victims have been completed and once the court approves the application, all other victims will be invited to join.

The Richard Spoor Attorneys’ list of victims has now reached about 100 people, as the law firm scrambles to submit a full application to court for their class action suit against Tiger Brands for damages relating to their listeria-contaminated products.

Richard Spoor, activist and human rights attorney, said: “We have been working like dogs for the past 10 days, trying to get the (documents) completed, but most of the affidavits are done, and we hope to finish very soon.”

According to Spoor, while the class action has drawn approximately 100 victims to the case, they have selected about 10 victims from these, who have agreed to be representatives in court.

“It has been very challenging, even for experienced, capable lawyers like myself, because a lot of work needs to be done,” said Spoor, adding that his team is working hard and doing their best to make sure the job is done to the best of their ability.

The application includes the affidavits of the victims, expert witnesses, a document to explain the historical background of the case, and more.

“It is a complex document to which I will have to sign off before it goes to the court,” Spoor told The Citizen.

Once the application has been approved by the court, the firm will have to go through a discovery procedure, to gain the attention and participation of other victims of the listeriosis outbreak.

This could mean eliciting the help of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), or calling for more media publicity to locate victims and families who are seeking justice.

Spoor said he cannot provide an estimation of what the payout of the case could be, as it would be unfair to place a value on a case that has not been through the courts yet.

He said the case is similar to the Life Esidimeni case, where families of the dead victims are to be paid R1 million each, because very few of the victims were financial contributors to their families, since the majority of them were children and the elderly.

Therefore, the constitutional payout may be just as high as the Life Esidimeni case, depending on the way the case is dealt with in court.


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