24 unidentified Illegal miners buried at last

THE bodies of 24 unidentified illegal miners have been buried during a mass pauper's funeral in Welkom.

THE bodies of 24 unidentified illegal miners have been buried during a mass pauper's funeral in Welkom.

Free State police spokesperson Captain Stephen Thakeng said yesterday the funerals started about 11am at the Phumlani Cemetery in Thabong.

"A Lesotho parliamentarian and members of the Lesotho consul-general attended the funeral, which was led by two ministers."

The unidentified men were part of a group of more than 80 illegal miners whose bodies were brought to the surface at a disused part of Harmony Gold's Eland Shaft in Welkom in May and June.

Those who could be identified were from Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa. They were killed in an underground fire thatstarted in a disused part of the mine on May 18.

Other zama-zamas (as illegal miners are called in the mining industry) had brought the bodies to underground shaft stations, where they were found by mining employees.

In some instances phone calls were made to officials on the surface that bodies would be found at certain places underground. - Sapa

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