Thulenkho Kuswana was discharged from his job as a winch driver in 2009 when it was discovered that he had silicosis. He was sent back to his rural home in the Eastern Cape. He returned a year later to speak with the doctor about compensation and was told to go home and wait, he is still waiting 5 years later.
Although he was dissatisfied with his salary, the mines treated them well. “It was much easier to find work at the mines because we were uneducated.” he said “ You would never go and not get work, but the salary was low”.
Recalling a time in 1977 a group of workers were trapped underground, Thulenkho remembers being called my the mine to assist with the rescue operation. Although 3 people died in the accident, they managed to save 13 and they were rewarded with bonuses by the management.
Nanabezi Mgoduswa is 48 years old and has silicosis and multi drug resistant TB. Although he is sick he still works as a security guard as he has a wife and 2 children to support and there is no other income.
He worked for 21 years in the gold mines and was given no compensation when he was discharged due to ill health.