Masabata Nqandela is one of at least 10 women staging a sit-in at Harmony Gold mine in Randfontein because the mine has not paid out the benefits due to them as widows.
Nqandela, of Finsbury in Randfontein, says when her husband died on duty in 2002 mine officials told her she would receive R20 000 for her eldest son, Sibulelo, who is now 20. Grade 12 pupil Andile would receive R26 000 and her youngest son Thami R58000.
"I was promised R130000 but after many pleas and enquiries I still have not received a cent from the mine," Nqandela said.
"My meagre earning is not enough to keep us going."
She said her electricity and water have been disconnected because she cannot pay the bills.
Her desperation has forced her to sell her six-roomed house to buy a cheaper one.
Nqandela is not alone.
At least 10 other women, some from Eastern Cape and Lesotho, are in the same predicament and have been camping at the mine for more than two months.
Mmamonosi Qhala, of Mohlakeng in Randfontein, said her husband Rejeleng passed away in 1996.
"I only received R8000 to bury my husband, R178 for my 15-year-old daughter Mankae and R203 for my 10-year-old son Koketso," Qhala said.
"In 2002 small amounts were deposited in my account but they were hardly enough for my children's needs.
"The last time I got money was in 2007 and as I speak to you there is no food in my house."
Mine official Steven Tshwenyane said he was not authorised to talk to the press.
He referred Sowetan to Douglas Gininda who was unavailable at the time of going to press.