Johannesburg - Resting one hand on his wife’s shoulder and the other on a crutch, Landile Qebula shuffles along, wheezing heavily. The retired gold miner is showing off his four-room house perched near the top of a dusty hill in South Africa’s rural Eastern Cape province.
“With the money I earned on the mines I built this,” the 52-year-old says proudly of the dwelling that lacks running water and whose zinc roof is held down by bricks. “But for 33 years of work and what I am suffering, it is not enough.”
Qebula has silicosis, an incurable and degenerative lung disease, the result of 13-hour days in mines more than a mile underground. Now unable to work, he and his 11 family members survive on just R1 400 a month from the government.