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Durban - President Jacob Zuma offered condolences to the families of six people who died in a tunnel collapse at an Eskom construction site near Ladysmith on Thursday.
"We mourn with the families of all the workers who have lost their lives in this tragedy, while constructing a better life not just for themselves and their families, but also for the entire country. We share their loss and their pain," he said in a statement.
"On behalf of government and the whole country, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families and fellow workers. May their souls rest in peace."
Eskom said six people were confirmed dead at its Ingula pumped storage construction site shortly after 9am.
"About 15 people were working in the tunnel when a working platform failed and left several people injured. A detailed investigation will be launched into the incident."
The presidency said nine people were injured.
IPSS medical response spokesman Marinus Nabal said six people were taken to hospital. He could not confirm if there were more injured.
Other officials also conveyed their condolences. Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba was saddened by the deaths, his ministry said in a statement.
"Minister Gigaba sends his sympathy and well wishes to the injured and calls on Eskom to leave no stone unturned to get to the cause of the incident and to ensure that any such possible accidents in future are averted," it said.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu offered condolences to the families of the six.
"We hope they open their hearts and receive peace of mind in the knowledge that their kinsmen died in the line of duty."
Mchunu commended Eskom for "for moving swiftly to assure the people of this province and the country that an investigation will be instituted".
"We are praying to the Almighty God to protect those who are still missing. May God grant members of the police and rescue unit strength as they carry out the rescue operation"
The storage scheme, which is under construction, is expected to go live next year.
It involves pumping water up the Drakensberg Mountains from the Braamhoek Dam to the Bedford Dam during off-peak hours, an elevation of about 470m.
Water will then be released through the tunnels to flow down during peak hours, generating electricity.