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All 1,060 listeriosis victims could benefit as Tiger Brands agrees to class action

23 November 2018 - 13:52 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Processed meats produced in an Enterprise factory in Polokwane was identified as the source of the listeriosis outbreak.
Processed meats produced in an Enterprise factory in Polokwane was identified as the source of the listeriosis outbreak.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Lawyers representing victims of the listeriosis outbreak will approach the South Gauteng High Court to certify the litigation as a class action.

Thamsanqa Malusi, of Richard Spoor Attorneys, told TimesLIVE on Friday that they would approach the court on Wednesday.

"We will argue why the case is best suited for a class action," Malusi said.

He said the firm would be representing everyone who had been affected by listeriosis.

"There are 1,060 confirmed cases and we got formal instructions from 150 people. This however, does not mean that we will exclude those who did not come forward."

Malusi said once the court certifies the case as a class action, the liability issue would be dealt with.

"We will then have to figure out the extent of the damage and get any information that will help us quantify the damage."

Included in the process will be medical assessments of victims of listeriosis, Malusi said.

Attorney Richard Spoor said the positive aspect about the case was the fact that Tiger Brands, who is the respondent, is not opposing it being classified as a class action.

Spoor said: "It's interesting and unique. This is quite a good and positive sign. What's more important is that class actions can be good for victims and respondents. It can be for the benefit of both Tiger Brands and the victims," Spoor said.

He said despite the company and lawyers agreeing on the classification of the case, a judge would still need to make an order to that effect.

This will be the first time that a class action is certified by agreement with respondents 
Richard Spoor

"The judge can confirm that the matter is a class action."

On September 3‚ health minister Aaron Motsoaledi declared the listeriosis outbreak over‚ leaving the final outbreak tally at 1‚065 confirmed cases – 87 of them emerging after the recall on March 5 – and 218 recorded deaths.

Motsoaledi had identified Tiger Brands’ Enterprise processed-meat plant in the northeast of the country as the source of listeriosis outbreak.