By Staff Reporter
SIX mine workers at Matshetshe Mine in Esigodini, Matabeleland South province, have been trapped for five days after a deep shaft they were working in collapsed at its opening.
The incident took place last Tuesday.
There are reports that no efforts have been made so far to rescue the trapped miners amid fears there may have been casualties.
The district Civil Protection Unit says it is waiting for the provincial and national CPU but there has been nothing concrete coming from the latter.
The mine is reportedly owned by one Sakhile Ndlovu who reportedly only managed to evacuate her equipment from the mine after the mine shaft collapsed but failed to rescue the workers.
The relatives and community members now fear that as time goes, the mine workers might end up all dying in the shaft through suffocation and hunger.
“We are at Irisvale in Mbalalala, we have sons who were working at Matshetshe mine, the mine shaft collapsed on Tuesday.
“What worries us now is that up to today (yesterday) nothing has been done. They tell us that they are waiting for the province, they are saying they are waiting for Harare, but there is nothing being published about them,” said one of the concerned relatives, Edith Tshabalala.
“We had hope that if the rescue is done in time, they might be saved, but due to these delays we are now losing hope.”
The trapped mine workers have been identified as Nkosilathi Ndlovu (29), Blessed Ncube (24) Christopher Dube (23), Ndumiso Dube (age not known), Ndumiso Ntini from Lupane and one only identified as Mlilo from Gwanda.
“What happened is that these boys were trapped on Tuesday and the mine owner removed her equipment from the mine during the night instead of raising an alarm that people are trapped in the shaft to get them rescued.
“She did not bother to inform the relatives of the workers and they had to hear through rumours about the accident,” Tshabalala said.
Contacted for comment, the mine owner, Ndlovu said she was not at liberty to comment because she had not yet been given permission to do so.
“I hear your question, but for now I am not able to comment because I have not been given authority to do so,” she said.
Umzingwane District Development Coordinator Peter Mahlatini declined to comment though he admitted receiving the report from the police. He said only police can comment on the matter since he received the report from them.
“Let me refer you to the provincial police. They are the ones who can comment on that because we received the report from them,” Mahlatini said.
Matabeleland South Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele was not reachable on his mobile when contacted.
National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was attending a virtual traffic meeting.