Inquiry into collapsed Tongaat Mall delayed by commissioner’s illness

2015-02-10 00:00

THE inquiry into the collapsed Tongaat Mall, which was expected to continue this week, has been postponed ­because the chairperson was admitted to hospital.

In its final stages, the inquiry which has been probing the reasons behind the collapse of partially constructed multi-level mall in November 2013, had expected the mall’s developer and contractor, controversial Durban businessman Jay Singh, to take the stand.

In a statement, the Department of Labour said the “three-day penultimate session” has been cancelled until further notice.

“Phumi Maphaha, who chairs the ­inquiry, was this weekend admitted to hospital due to a severe tonsillitis ­inflammation.

“The department wishes to profusely apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused,” read the statement.

Once the inquiry is finished the commission will compile a report that will likely apportion blame for the ­collapse. This report will be submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who will consider pursuing criminal prosecution.

The inquiry began in February, 2014.

The collapse killed two people and injured 29.

While the evidence is highly technical, it has been reported that the mall contractor allegedly used low quality concrete and ignored health and safety regulations. The builder also allegedly ignored notices issued by the ­eThekwini Municipality who claimed no plans had been submitted for the mall’s construction.

The city has since obtained an order to demolish the structure which they believe will be carried out once the ­inquiry has been completed.

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