Work to retrieve the bodies of the people trapped at the Gloria coal mine must continue, says Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.
"The work to retrieve the bodies at Gloria mine is quite complex but it must be allowed to continue so that there can be closure on this matter," he said.
The Minister, who visited the mine located in Middleburg, Mpumalanga on Friday, said the priority remains to restore ventilation to the mine.
In addition there is a need to reduce flammable gases underground so the search and recovery process can continue with the necessary speed.
On Thursday, seven bodies were discovered while it was reported last week that six people had died following an explosion at the mine. It was reported that following the explosion, the ground caved in at the shaft entered into by illegal miners.
Work to retrieve the bodies will continue once power and ventilation are restored and the flammable gases underground are brought down to more manageable levels.
Minister Mantashe called for security at mines to be enhanced in order to effectively address illegal mining.
Cable and copper theft resulted in power to the mine being stopped, increasing the level of poisonous gases underground.
Teams continue to assess the gas levels underground, and work is expected to continue tomorrow morning.