Haste led to Tongaat Mall collapse

Posted On Friday, 04 April 2014 14:28 Published by
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A worker on the construction of the Tongaat Mall, which collapsed on November 19 killing two people and injuring 29, said that haste led to the tragedy at the site near Durban.


Testifying at the Tongaat Mall Commission of Inquiry, Siyabonga Zuma said that, on the day of the disaster, a column at the neck of a beam "exploded" and, within seconds, "everything fell down".

Zuma said all he saw was "dust". He had been stripping scaffolding just before the collapse.

During the initial investigation days after the collapse, Zuma told Department of Labour officials that the support work, including the scaffolding, had been removed too "early", implying that the concrete had not yet cured.

But Zuma yesterday said that the scaffolding had been removed too "quickly" so that it could be used elsewhere, but that the concrete had been given enough time to cure.

The regional head of development, applications and approvals at eThekwini municipality, Rajagopaul Naidoo, told the commission that the developer, Rectangle Property Investments, applied for approval of its earthworks plan four times last year.

He said the plan was not approved but the developer went ahead. Earlier Navin Palayan of the council's land use unit testified that an application for special consent to encroach on SA Railways property was pending when the developer started construction.

The developer's lawyer said SA Railways' consent was imminent. The commission will today hear from the municipality's building inspector, who had visited the site several times.

Last modified on Monday, 07 April 2014 11:56

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