An underground clash between two groups of suspected illegal miners in Mpumalanga, on Saturday, 29 May, left four men dead. The South African Police Service (SAPS) said the bodies of the deceased were retrieved on Wednesday afternoon.
One suspect has been arrested thus far and he is expected to appear in the Graskop Magistrate’s Court imminently.
MINERS FIGHT TURNS DEADLY
Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, said four alleged illegal miners died after an altercation at the Transvaal Gold Mining Estate in Dientjie, Graskop. The fight was between two groups of miners and the bodies of the dead were dumped in a mineshaft.
“Another victim was severely assaulted and taken to hospital for medical treatment,” said Hlathi.
“Police were then informed about the killings and through their short probe, they were quick to discover that the man at the hospital was actually involved in the whole saga.”
The hospitalised man was subsequently arrested and placed under police guard while he recovers from his injuries.
SAPS said once the suspect is fit enough to do so, he will appear before the Graskop Magistrate’s Court. Meanwhile, investigating officers are still hunting for the remaining suspects.
THE DANGERS OF UNLAWFUL MINING
Hlathi said the fatal incident is one of several incidences of unauthorised digging for minerals that has been reported to the police. Suspects arrested for the act are currently facing various courts throughout the province, according to the spokesperson. “The police have on several occasions warned people and urged them not to engage in illegal mining activities,” said Hlathi.
The acting police commissioner of Mpumalanga, Major General Thulani Phahla, condemned the incident and called for the arrest of those responsible for the “senseless” killing.
“This incident has shown once again the dangers of unlawful and unauthorised mining which often puts the lives of those involved at risk,” said Phala.