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South Africa

Informal gold miners raise money to bury their friend

More Ngondi was shot dead by mine security on 3 March in Benoni. He was 21. Police confirmed that Ngondi was found with two bullets in the chest and one in the head. He had died on the spot.

Neighbours, relatives and friends gathered on Tuesday to bid farewell in the informal settlement of Payneville where Ngondi had lived.

Ngondi’s older brother, Gilbert, said a sum of R18,000 was raised by friends and fellow informal miners (known as gwejas) to repatriate the body for burial in his home district of Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.

It was not the first time the funeral service had repatriated the body of an informal miner, according to one of the miners in charge of arrangements. “We have worked with this funeral service for a long time and they always give us a special discount,” he said.

“The deceased had no passport or any legal papers for living in South Africa. We processed all papers for him. We might need to pay bribes all the way to Zimbabwe,” said the driver in charge of repatriating the body.

The family intends to lay charges against the security guard who shot and killed Ngondi.

“This is murder. My brother was a good man. He did not deserve to die that way,” said Gilbert.

Eight informal gold miners arrested when Ngondi was shot will appear in the Benoni Magistrate’s court on 27 March.

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