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President mourns passing of Operation Vala Umgodi SANDF troops

President Cyril Ramaphosa is deeply saddened by the deaths of four South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members who passed away overnight on Friday, 05 July 2024, while on duty to combat illegal mining.

As Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, President Ramaphosa offers his condolences to the families of the victims as well as to their commanders and colleagues.

The President’s thoughts are with the team of soldiers who discovered their deceased colleagues in a container at a disused mine shaft at Orkney in the North West Province.

While police are investigating the matter, the deceased troops, who showed no injuries and were fully kitted and armed, are believed by the police and the SANDF to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from a fire they made to keep warm. 

The troops were part of Operation Vala Umgodi which is directed at combating illegal mining.

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President, on

Issued by: The Presidency

 Union Building