The death toll at the Gloria Coal Mine in Middleburg has risen to six following a gas explosion on Wednesday.
Mike Elliot from the Business Practitioners (the company busy with rescue mission) says the rescue mission has since been halted due to violent threats made by other employees of the mine.
He says these employees would not allow them to commence with the rescue until they are paid their salaries or be given a date when salaries would be paid.
We are working tirelessly with the business rescue practitioners to secure funding for the mine and carry on with the process of selling the mine to a new owner, which has been embroiled by numerous court interdicts against business practitioners, preventing them from selling the mine at point in time.— Mike Elliot, Representative - Business Practitioners
Elliot explains that the mines are faced with challenges of cable theft underground. He says there was a shootout between these illegal miners and the security officers.
They go underground and steal copper cables all the time.
At this point we don't see it as a moral dilemma whether we rescue them or not, we know we have to recover these people.— Mike Elliot, Representative - Business Practitioners
Everyone needs to understand that these people have caused an explosion underground. ultimately the air in the mine has been replaced with carbon monoxide which is an extremely poisonous gas.— Mike Elliot, Representative - Business Practitioners
To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below: