With Christmas Eve-like excitement, Lungile Qhanqa could not wait for Tuesday morning.
That was the day the 73-year-old former mineworker woke up just before 5am to warm water up on a paraffin stove, wash, dress and travel almost 50km by bus on a bumpy gravel road to Komani.
Qhanqa, of Mceula village in Whittlesea, is one of thousands of former mineworkers who, after years of digging minerals, will finally receive their pension and provident fund payments.
This newspaper reported last week that 4000 ex-miners from the Eastern Cape would finally be paid from R40-billion worth of benefits left unclaimed for decades.
On the way to Komani, Qhanqa could not hide his excitement as he kept smiling and talking about his experiences in the mines.
Accompanied by his daughter Nomvuyiseko, Qhanqa woke early to try and beat the queue at mines’ employment agency, Teba, on Tuesday.
By the time he arrived in Komani, there were already about 20 former mineworkers who had beaten him to the queue.
After waiting his turn, Qhanqa was told to open a bank account which would be used to deposit his yet unknown amount of pension or provident fund money.
The consultant who helped Qhanqa also told him he could claim for lung and chest illnesses if he suffered any during his time in the mines.
He was then sent to the police station to fill in more forms and sign an affidavit as part of the claiming process.
Although he did not receive his money on the day, Qhanqa said he was relieved to know he would at last receive what was owed to him.
“I have hope that after coming here, I will finally receive what is due to me. I am very happy.
“The money will change my life but I will have to wait for now until everything is in order,” he said.
Qhanqa said he and the other miners were told to wait until their applications had been processed and approved. They were not told how long it would take. — thembiles@