Suspected gas leak kills 17 near Johannesburg mine shaft

Suspected gas leak leaves 17 dead in Boksburg, South Africa

A suspected gas leak in an unofficial settlement near Johannesburg has resulted in 17 deaths, according to local authorities.

The incident occurred in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, where the victims, that include 3 children, are believed to have died from gas inhalation.

Unauthorised gold mining activities in the region have been linked to the gas leak, which took place on Wednesday 5th July 2023.

Illegal gold miners, commonly known as “zama zamas,” frequently employ gases during the extraction of gold from soil found in abandoned mine shafts.

It was believed that a leak in one of the gas cylinders in the densely populated Angelo shanty town of Boksburg was the cause of the incident.

“The scene was heartbreaking. The bodies were scattered literally everywhere,” said Panyaza Lesufi, Premier of the Gauteng Province.

Johannesburg, often referred to as the “city of gold,” harbours an extensive network of abandoned mine shafts spanning hundreds of kilometres.

Some of these shafts have been taken over by unauthorised gold miners.

In the Angelo area, criminal mining syndicates have reportedly rented homes to enable them to be closer to their mine shafts.