Former Lily Mine workers in Louieville, near Barbeton, Mpumalanga, have vowed to continue with their illegal efforts to search for their colleagues who died underground three years ago.
The bodies of Solomon Nyarenda, Pretty Nkambule and Yvonne Mnisi were never brought to the surface after the container they were working in disappeared in a sinkhole in February 2016.
Former miners and families have been camping outside the mine since April this year.
Since last week, the miners have been going underground illegally to try and retrieve the three victims.
A former shop steward at the mine Hendry Mazibuko is leading the mission.
“Unfortunately today we are disappointed, we suspect sabotage because we couldn’t get to the target mission where we were going to work and our tools are no longer there. A big rock has been blasted from the roof, it fell to the ground, we can’t access our destination.
“We are going back to the drawing board to plan how we are going to remove the rock; if it needs to be blasted we will consider that because we are not going to stop until we find our beloved colleagues,” Mazibuko explains.