The bodies of nine illegal miners may still be underground at the Gupta-owned Gloria coal mine in Blinkpan, near Middelburg in Mpumalanga but the rescue operation has been put on hold.
Mike Elliot, the business rescue representative for the mine, confirmed on Monday that they had to stop all attempts to retrieve the bodies.
“We have not recommenced with the operations as we are waiting for funding to make the things safe before we can continue,” he explained.
The situation is aggravated by imminent rockfalls and the presence of gas underground.
On February 6, a gas explosion trapped several people underground. They were allegedly involved in stealing copper cables from the non-operational mine. Several others got trapped when they allegedly went down the shaft after the blast hoping to rescue the first batch.
Since then, one person was rescued alive, and eighteen bodies were retrieved.