Illegal miners believed trapped in Welkom

2012-05-23 12:37

Johannesburg - Five illegal miners have been pulled alive from a disused gold mine near Welkom, Free State police said on Wednesday.

"They are thirsty and hungry, but well enough to be charged for trespassing," said Captain Stephen Thakeng.

Mine rescuers were confident they would be able to save more people during the course of the day.

At least 21 were still believed to be underground. Two illegal miners raised the alarm on Tuesday, saying fellow miners were trapped underground following a rockfall in the early hours.

Thakeng said the illegal miners had told authorities they were mining for gold in the disused Harmony mine when parts of it began to cave in.

The company had sealed the mine but illegal miners, many of them from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho, had burrowed in under organised supervision.

"The organisers of this illegal mining are recruiting in very poor communities and people don't always realise they are coming to work on something illegal and very dangerous in South Africa," Thakeng said.

He appealed to people to be careful about allowing themselves to be used and, in so doing, risking their lives and the lives of rescuers.

In the Northern Cape, near Kleinzee, rescuers were still trying to reach 16 men trapped underground in an illegal diamond mine. On Wednesday police spokesperson Captain Cherelle Ehlers said rescuers did not know how many of the men were still alive.

  • clinton.badenhorst - 2012-05-23 12:42

    Just leave them there. Serves them right...

      Koos - 2012-05-23 13:21

      I could not agree more.

  • hlongwanech - 2012-05-23 12:47

    this is stupidity i rather ask piece jobs at the local shops or joining the building contractors

  • Morne - 2012-05-23 12:48

    Good idea for a new jail infrastructure... keep digging dudes

      Henri - 2012-05-23 13:53

      het jy nie werk om te doen nie ballas ?

      Morne - 2012-05-23 13:59

      Net so baie soos jy!

      Henri - 2012-05-23 14:03

      waar slet jy nou rond ?

      Morne - 2012-05-23 14:07

      Check jou wall....

  • craig.a.salter - 2012-05-23 12:52

    These miners are known to attack the ppl mining legally. let them rot in the hole and be forgotten for all of time

  • fdalana - 2012-05-23 12:52

    well enough to be charged for

  • Gee - 2012-05-23 12:54

    there is a reason why the mine closed this shaft...yes you guessed right...its UNSAFE! Now these miners will drag the mine to court for the unsafe conditions in which they have to steal.

      Rudie - 2012-05-23 13:05

      Could not agree more.

  • Rudie - 2012-05-23 13:06

    Where is "BAD" Brad now?

  • baebae.phasha - 2012-05-23 13:19

    they deserve to be there,jst leave them.

  • Kenny - 2012-05-23 14:30

    These are not illegal miners they are glorious and brave members of the socialist vanguard movement implementing the ANCYL's nationalizaton of the mines policy. These are men Julius Malema and his former YL will be proud of - Forward with Dangerous mining activities forward

  • Dianne - 2012-05-23 14:48

    Yet if they're offered a legal mining job they'll refuse. They found their own way in, they can find their own way out.

  • tricia.sutherland1 - 2012-05-23 15:16

    the people from Zimbabwe, Mozambique etc should've become suspicious when they were offered jobs - i mean isn't it true the only thing they are allowed to do in SA is apply for a hawkers licence and even then our police and locals harrass them - or they end up being employed to do something illegal. While i have a whole heart of compassion for these immigrants - why does our government allow so many of them in when there are not enough jobs for the South Africans? This can only lead to crime. Sad story.

  • Mart - 2012-05-23 15:24

    Not 'illegal miners', read 'criminals'. There are laws prohibiting them from mining and trespass, they are guilty, therefore 'criminals' please.

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