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Inquest into mysterious deaths of ‘poisoned’ SANDF members

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has initiated an inquest into the deaths of four members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) who may have been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

The members were stationed on a 24-hour shift at Shaft 3, a dormant mining shaft in Orkney in the North West province, next to the abandoned Harry Oppenheimer stadium which has been a hotspot for illegal mining, according to the SANDF.

The deceased members are said to have been found inside a container structure which was used as a guard house for those on 24-hour duty on Saturday morning, when the next shift was taking over. 

All four had died with their rifles on them

The police were called and upon inspection of the scene, all four had died with their rifles on them and their items still intact. 

“The district surgeon was called to the scene and examined the bodies and confirmed no injuries. A team from the Pretoria FSL Chemistry Unit, also attended the scene and preliminary findings are that the deaths of the members could have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, from a possible fire made by the members during the cold night inside the container structure,” the statement read. 

The bodies of the deceased were transported to the Klerksdorp State Mortuary for further investigation and post-mortem.

“The names of the deceased will be announced once the families have been informed and all processes and formalities have been completed followed by the announcement of the funeral arrangements.”

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Angie Motshekga, and Deputy Minister Bantu Holomisa, extended their condolences to the families of the deceased and the entire defence family, as does The South African website.

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