The Sibanye-Stillwater mine has confirmed that three mineworkers died at the Ikamva shaft near Westonaria – south west of Johannesburg.

The company says mine rescue are searching for other two employees who are still believed to be trapped.

Earlier union, the NUM, said four miners had died. However, Sibanye puts the number at three.

Five mineworkers were apparently overcome by gas and heat while underground. Sibanye-Stillwater spokesperson, Thabisile Phumo says, “Sadly three employees have been retrieved and declared dead. Mine rescue operations are still searching for the other two employees. All we can confirm at this stage is that the five employees who were involved in this incident had entered an abandoned area. Once the rescue operation are concluded and investigation will be conducted at which point we will be in a position to provide further details as to the circumstances around this incident.”

NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mamburu says, “We are calling on the minister to act hard on this company. We are worried about fatalities at Sibanye there’s no way they can be left alone without any action taken against it.”