Police in the North West have opened inquest dockets after the bodies of 20 unidentified decomposing bodies were discovered over two days. The bodies, all identified as male, were discovered on Monday and Tuesday at two different locations in Orkney just outside Klerksdorp.
Provincial police stated in the first incident, five decomposed bodies were found at approximately 7 pm on Monday, June 14, outside an old unused mine shaft ventilation in Lawrence Park, Orkney. On Tuesday, a further 15 more decomposed bodies were found alongside Ariston Road near the railway line in Orkney.
In a statement released on Wednesday, police said all the deceased are suspected to be illegal miners, commonly known in the area as ‘zama zamas’ who operate in obsolete shafts in the Orkney and Stilfontein areas.
Police said it was evident that the deceased suffered severe body burns and as the investigation into the death of the 20 men proceeds, post mortems will be conducted to determine the cause of death for those whose bodies were found to be wrapped in white plastic bags.
Police stated there was a possibility of linking the matter with a video that was circulated on social media platforms, where a man who calls himself Mafifi can be seen pleading for assistance after an apparent smoke inhalation incident that allegedly occurred at shaft number six.
Police are requesting anyone with information to come forward or contact Colonel Gaanakgomo on 082 568 5975. Alternatively, anonymous tip-offs can be made via the MySAPS app or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
African News Agency (ANA)