Police at Driekop, near Burgersfort have opened a case of culpable homicide after four alleged illegal miners died when the “dump truck” mining vehicle they were using at the site overturned, Limpopo police said on Sunday.

The incident happened at Mandagshoek, Mankgakganyane section at about 9.10pm on Saturday night. The investigation into the cause of the accident and to determine whether the victims were indeed illegal miners was under way, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

“According to information, six alleged illegal miners were in the vehicle on the mountain when it suddenly swerved and overturned several times, instantly  killing four males and seriously injuring two. The police were called to the scene, reacted swiftly, and on arrival the victims were found between huge rocks and in the wreckage. The injured were taken to hospital with serious injuries,” Mojapelo said.

Police in Limpopo had so far succeeded in dealing with illegal mining, which had largely been brought under control since the launch of provincial operations in May 2017 led by deputy provincial commissioner responsible for crime detection Maj-Gen Bafana Linda. Seventy illegal miners, including “the kingpins”, had already been arrested and mining equipment worth millions of rand had been confiscated, Mojapelo said.

Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba once again warned communities, especially those along the R37 road between Lebowakgomo and Burgersfort, to desist from illegal mining.

“Apart from one facing possible arrest, there are some potential hazards and life threatening situations often associated with these activities. People should therefore stop this tendency,” Ledwaba said.