Illegal miners given a pauper’s burial

2009-08-27 14:45

The unusual sight of two dozen pauper graves has apparently not deterred illegal mining activities in the Free State.


at the funeral of the 24 unidentified illegal miners, held at the

Phumlani Cemetery in Thabong, Welkom, heard that illegal mining

activity continues despite May’s horror underground fire that claimed

89 lives.

So far 65 bodies have been identified of which 43 are Lesotho nationals.


burials today, were attended by about 50 people, including Lesotho

diplomats, pastors, mortuary and funeral parlour workers who braved the

scorching Welkom heat.

The Matjabeng Local Municipality

covered the burial costs after a request to do so was made by the the

Welkom-based Lesotho Diplomatic Mission.

“We asked the

municipality to facilitate the burying process,” said Lesotho

diplomatic official Sethunya Koqo. They specifically asked the

municipality for separate graves and to ensure that the funeral was

sensitive to African customs that requires that each person has his or

her own grave.

Welkom police say 140 arrests for illegal mining have been made with four convictions since June.


spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng said three illegal miners where

sentenced to between seven and 12 months imprisonment or fined between

R2 400 and R10 000.

Another illegal minor was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment without the option of a fine.

All four were convicted for theft of gold-bearing material.

The local pathology services is keeping DNA records of 24 unclaimed bodies in case their relatives come forward later.

  • Read more about this heart-rending burial in this Sunday’s edition of the City Press.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.