Two bodies found at abandoned gold mine

February 19, 2014 - 9:10:21 am
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s elite police unit vowed to hunt down illegal mining kingpins yesterday, as two bodies were discovered at an abandoned gold mine where dozens of people had been trapped.

Shadrack Sibiya of the police’s Hawks unit said illegal mining “cannot be allowed to continue” as the rescue mission entered its third day.

A total of 25 illegal miners have emerged from the disused pit east of Johannesburg, risking arrest, a large fine and a possible jail sentence.

“One body was brought to the surface by the miners, we have been unable to get to the second body,” said Roggers Mamaila, part of the emergency team trying to coax remaining miners out of the shaft. It was not immediately clear how or when the victims had died.

Sibiya said 22 miners were due to appear in court today and had given the police information that could crack the gangs they work for. “We are convinced that information obtained will lead us to the kingpins,” he said.

“We will be going after the masterminds. We cannot allow this to continue.

Police said the arrested men were all aged between 20 and 40, were all foreign nationals, and most did not have immigration papers.

Emergency responders were still looking for around five more men believed to be hiding underground and fearing arrest.