Middelburg - Rescue workers retrieved four more bodies of people suspected to be cable thieves from underground at Gloria coal mine near Middelburg in Mpumalanga on Thursday morning, bringing the total number of fatalities to six, business rescue representative Mike Elliot said.
Elliot said 22 people were thought to be still trapped underground. He described the motive for the incident as copper cable theft carried out by a group of Lesotho nationals who were residing at a nearby squatter camp.
“This is the most terrible thing that happened to this mine and it has been caused by them [suspected cable thieves,” said Elliot, who was speaking to reporters on the premises of the mine.
“They are cable thieves. This copper cable theft has been going on for three weeks now. The problem that we have in this country is that our laws do not stop people from buying second-hand copper cables."
Two people were first brought to the surface of the same mine on Wednesday and one of whom died on the premises, while another passed away at the hospital, added Elliot.