SIXTEEN of the 31 people who died after a mine shaft collapsed in South Africa have been identified as Zimbabweans.
The explosion occurred after suspected illegal miners blew up the defunct Harmony Gold mine shaft in Welkom, Free State, last week on Thursday and the disaster was discovered earlier this week.
It has since emerged that two more bodies have been retrieved as the rescue team is still searching for victims and survivors.
Zimbabwe Consul-General in South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said almost 50 percent of the retrieved bodies were of Zimbabweans.
“What we have gathered right now is that they have retrieved 31 bodies and 16 of them are Zimbabweans.
“They are still rescuing some more and we hope to get more details between tomorrow (today) and on Sunday,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
He said his team was on the ground getting finer details.
The victims are suspected to have died after inhaling dangerous gases after the mine collapsed.
Some Lesotho and Mozambique nationals are also suspected to have died in the same incident.
Mr Mukonoweshuro expressed concern that Zimbabweans were engaging in dangerous activities while trying to eke out a living.
In 2014, 27 Zimbabweans from Gokwe and Nkayi suffocated in a shaft at Roodepoort Mine in Johannesburg West, South Africa, after inhaling carbon monoxide.-Zimpapers