’100s of miners could be buried’

Welkom A former police officer who has 12 years of experience in cases of illegal mining, says he fears that hundreds more bodies of illegal miners could still be underground in mines in the city.

Over the past two weeks, the bodies of 69 illegal miners, or so called “zama zamas”, were brought to the surface after a fire started in the vicinity of Harmony’s Eland mineshaft on May 18.

“We have no idea what the extent of this is. We don’t know how many bodies are still underground. The safety of our workers comes first at this stage.”She said the death of the illegal miners was a tragedy. “Some of the illegal miners are just children. It is part of organised crime. Harmony has been working with the police for hollister the past few years to tackle the problem.”

She said the illegal miners used many unsafe practices. The gases, which caused their death, were probably caused by an underground fire. As the Eland mineshaft has not been in use for the past five years, there is no ventilation and the gases are even more dangerous.

Provincial police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Sam Makhele said six additional people were arrested on Tuesday night and taken in for questioning by police regarding illegal mining activities.

Post mortems on the last 25 bodies brought out on Tuesday were held on Wednesday, and their deaths were attributed to inhalation of smoke hollister and gas.

“This mining company should investigate the possibility that their own staff allow the so called illegal miners underground.”

Seshoka said they called for an urgent investigation into how these people gained access to the mine, and how it was possible that security was unaware of it.

The trade union Solidarity on Wednesday wrote a letter to Susan Shabangu, the minister of mining, asking that hollister the crisis of illegal mining activity in South Africa be investigated.

Shabangu visited the mineshaft on Tuesday.

Advocate Paul Mardon, Solidarity’s chief of occupational health and safety, said the aim of the investigation had to be to determine what the factors were that led to illegal activities, the impact this had on the mining industry and the South African economy, as well as which steps should be take hollister n to prevent these illegal practices from continuing.