File photo: Sharon Seretlo

Johannesburg - Police, metro police and emergency services remain on standby in case more illegal miners emerge from an abandoned mine in Benoni, the Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesman said on Tuesday.

“We are monitoring the situation, we don't know whether there are still people down there,” Zweli Dlamini said.

Around 30 people have emerged from the abandoned mine since emergency services heard screams emanating from it on February 16.

Dlamini said some of the illegal miners refused to come out because they would face arrest on coming to the surface.

Food and water were previously sent down the mine shaft to provide relief to those who remained underground, but this had been suspended because it was no longer considered an emergency, he said.

Paramedics initially said there were 200 illegal miners trapped in the mine, but this could not be verified.