Mining Minister on site where illegal miners are trapped

Mining Minister on site where illegal miners are trapped

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane on Monday visited the disused mine shaft in Langlaagte in Johannesburg, where the operation to rescue trapped illegal miners were temporarily suspended.

Mosebenzi Zwane at Langlaagte
Photo: Maryke Vermaak

An unknown number of illegal miners were trapped last week following an underground fire in an abandoned mine shaft.

"The smoke and the fire that is in the portion we are a directed to where the bodies are, we want to request the families of the affected to work together with the team here," he said.

Zwane was shown around the area, while emotions ran high among family members waiting for word on the fate of their loved ones.

"It is in the best interest of everybody that no untrained person should try and go underground to try and rescue the miners, because the situation is not conducive and in other areas the space is so small you can't use your own rescue equipment to move forward."

Johannesburg EMS spokesperson Synok Matobako says there are still 5 people trapped.

"A team will go down to assess the situation this afternoon and this is based on the information that was given to the minister and to the mine rescue team by three illegal miners that went down. They came back and said the level of carbon monoxide has subsided," Matobako said.

Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela says 7 miners have so far been arrested.

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