JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) called on Monday for an investigation following the deaths of four miners at Tau Lekoa gold mine in South Africa's North West Province.
The four miners were killed during a rock fall which was caused by an earth tremor on last Friday.
The last fifth miner who was trapped underground was rescued only on Sunday and is hospitalized.
"We are calling for an independent forensic probe about this matter. When I was underground being briefed, I saw workers carrying the bodies of their dead colleagues instead of rescue operations team doing that," NUM's President Joseph Montisetse told Xinhua.
He said the deceased workers suffocated to death while asking for help.
While the mine said an investigation would be done,Montisetse said that they were informed that the team which carries out rescue operations failed to rescue the trapped four miners.
"Our members told us that if they had been allowed to rescue those four mineworkers, they could have been found and rescued alive. They (the rescue operation team) care about making money than saving the lives of the trapped black mineworkers," he said.
He said the fifth miner who was rescued was assisted by NUM members and not the team which is responsible for rescue operations.
The union also said that there was no escape route for the trapped miners.
"NUM is also extremely concerned that there was no escape route in the working area where the four mineworkers were found dead. It is a sorry state of affairs that miners do dangerous work and get paid peanuts while in actual fact dangerous work like mining should be well remunerated," he added.
A total of 81 miners died in the mining sector last year with most of them in the gold sector.