Relatives still waiting to identify dead miners

SOMBRE: Minerals and Ernegy Affairs Minister Susan Shabangu at the Eiland mine shaft yesterday where 61 illegal miners lost their lives. Pic: Elvis Ntombela. 02/06/2009. © Sowetan
SOMBRE: Minerals and Ernegy Affairs Minister Susan Shabangu at the Eiland mine shaft yesterday where 61 illegal miners lost their lives. Pic: Elvis Ntombela. 02/06/2009. © Sowetan

FAMILY members of the illegal miners found dead at a disused Eiland mine shaft in Welkom in the Free State left the government mortuary dejected yesterday after again being told they would not be permitted to identify the bodies of their next of kin.

Yesterday 25 more bodies were discovered, bringing the total to 61 since the weekend. At the weekend 36 bodies were recovered while six had been found the previous week.

"We are here to see if our relatives are among the people who died because they were working at the mine," said Bishop Thomas Dlamini of Thabong.

Dlamini said his two nephews, Mieka, 16, and Johan, 19, left their Thabong home on April 16 after someone promised them jobs.

"He took money from them in exchange for jobs. They were excited because it was their first jobs after leaving school. Both had not completed their matric."

Some relatives said they came to the mortuary on Sunday when the first bodies were discovered but have not yet been let inside to identify their loved ones.

"I wish they could just let us in so that we can identify the bodies and see if our relatives are there," Mzokhona Ngubane said.

Ngubane, who worked for Pamodzi Mines until recently, said his nephew disappeared three weeks ago.

Pathologist Jeanne du Toit said yesterday: "We turned the relatives away as some of the bodies are not here. But on Wednesday (today) all 61 bodies will be here and they will be let in."

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