South Africa: Bodies found in gold mine after shooting

The mine owners said there had been a shooting on Monday

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Four bodies have been found in an unused shaft of a mine run by relatives of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and ex-leader Nelson Mandela.

Police said investigations were continuing into reports that up to 20 alleged illegal miners were shot dead by security at the mine on Monday.

The owners of the Grootvlei gold mine east of Johannesburg confirmed their guards had clashed with some miners.

The governing African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the shooting.

The Grootvlei mine is owned by the company, Aurora Empowerment Systems, whose chairman is President Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma.

The company's managing director is Zondwa Mandela, the grandson of the anti-apartheid fighter.

The BBC's Karen Allen in Johannesburg says the mine has been at the centre of an alleged pay dispute according to mining unions, but it has also been the site of illegal mining.

Louis Lamsley, the general manager of Aurora mines, said he believed the victims were illegal gold miners.

"All the indications are that illegal mining was taking place, if I react to the reports of equipment that was found underground - gold extraction equipment… and the vandalism and theft on the surface operations and underground," he said.

The trade union confederation Cosatu has added its voice to calls for a full investigation.

The authorities in South Africa say illegal mining is on the increase because gold prices are high.

The illegal miners comb disused shafts looking for deposits, often risking their own lives.

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