Joseph Mothibedi takes careful, heavy breaths as he reaches for the white plastic chair in front of him. "My lungs are full of holes," the father of two says as he sits and leans back.

More than three decades of mining gold at Vaal Reefs mine — today owned by AngloGold Ashanti — have left the 62-year-old with silicosis, a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust. It can’t be cured.

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