Middelburg - A group of people believed to be Lesotho nationals fought with security guards at Gloria coal mine near Middelburg in Mpumalanga last week in an attempt to gain entry into the underground area, the mine's business rescue representative said on Thursday.
Mike Elliot was speaking to reporters inside the mine’s premises where the bodies of six people, suspected to be copper cable thieves, were retrieved from underground.
He said the suspects descended on the mine armed with knobkieries, guns and other weapons and tried to force their way into the premises.
“They shot at our guards and our dogs and we called the police,” said Elliot.
“They are cable thieves. They don’t mine. They came here to steal copper cables. The theft of copper cables and transformers at this mine is now estimated at R100 million. The problem that we have in this country is that our laws do not stop people from buying second-hand cables.”