Johannesburg – The process of identifying 20 bodies, believed to be those of illegal miners from Lesotho, was expected to start on Monday morning in Orkney, North West.
The deceased, who were found at two locations, had suffered severe burns. Their bodies were found wrapped in white plastic bags.
North West Premier Professor Job Mokgoro was, on Monday morning, to meet Lesotho Consul General Selimo Thabane as well as the families of the deceased who would be identifying the bodies.
North West police opened an inquest dockets after 20 bodies of unidentified men were found at different locations in Orkney on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The first five decomposed bodies were found at around 7pm on Tuesday, outside an old and unused mine shaft ventilation in Lawrence Park, Orkney.
Colonel Adéle Myburgh said that the following day, 14 more decomposed bodies were found along Ariston Road near the railway line in Orkney.
“While still processing the scene, police received information that another body was discovered where the initial five bodies were found, thus bringing a total number to 20.
“All the deceased are suspected to be illegal miners commonly known as ’zama zamas’ operating in obsolete shafts in Orkney and Stilfontein.
“Furthermore, the deceased suffered severe body burns. As part of investigations, post-mortems will be conducted to determine a cause of death for these men whose bodies were found wrapped in white plastic bags,” she said.