Friends of the five illegal miners who died in an abandoned mine shaft in Mpumalanga last week have vowed to recover the bodies, even at the risk of losing their lives.
Mandla Mongase, 43, Emmanuel Madolo, 45, Melanie Abraham, 48, Linda Fakude, 21, and Nkosinathi Fakude, 21, died at the bottom of the 120m-deep shaft when their search for gold ended in tragedy.
The five were part of a group of seven, but two men managed to escape.
Xolile Maziya and Mandla Zitha last week led a rescue team to where their friends had disappeared.
The rescue team called off their search on Wednesday, saying rockfalls were making progress too dangerous.
Mika Timane, group leader of the friends of the dead miners, told Sowetan yesterday afternoon: "We are prepared to die, we will do whatever it takes [to get them out] and no one will stop us."