Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has expressed deep sadness after three South African Navy soldiers and three construction workers from the Department of Public works died tragically on Friday while working in a sewer pit at the Naval Base in Durban.
It is understood the three soldiers rushed to the pit to try and assist the Public Works staff members who were struggling to breathe underground.
The Presidency said the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had called the President and informed him of the tragedy.
President Zuma has extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the three soldiers and the three Public Works staff members.
"We are devastated by the deaths of these hard working soldiers and their colleagues. It is really tragic for all of them to lose their lives in this manner. This is a most painful and traumatic time for all the families and for all of us.
"This happens just when we were preparing to join the SANDF in Durban for the Armed Forces Day celebration which also marks the centenary of the sinking of the SS Mendi vessel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this difficult and painful time," said President Zuma.
Source: South African Government News Agency.