Infrastructure MEC blames contractor's shoddy work for collapse

2017-03-02 21:03
The scene inside the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. (Supplied)

The scene inside the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. (Supplied)

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WATCH: Frantic dig to release those trapped under Maxeke collapsed roof

2017-03-02 17:05

Concerns about the structural safety at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, where a section of the roof collapsed on Thursday afternoon, were previously highlighted by DA provincial legislature member Jack Bloom.WATCH

Johannesburg – The collapse of the roof in the foyer of Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital was a result of shoddy workmanship by contractors, says infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday evening after visiting the site where five people sustained minor injuries Mamabolo said the contractor, Thandzanani Trading Enterprise, would be removed for the site with immediate effect.

"We could clearly see the structure on which the contractor was working. The way they were removing the concrete stone, we could see they did not do a proper check on the strength of the building or the roof itself. We don't think that there was a preliminary check, that's why it collapsed."

The contractor removed concrete stones and placed them on a thin roof that could not handle the weight, he said.

"They removed the concrete stones and put them on a site on top of the structure. Because of the weight on concrete stones, the roof collapsed."

Mamabolo said the contractor needed to be held accountable for the manner workers approached the job.

"They could have taken measures to make sure that what we are sitting with does not happen... Any reasonable contractor would take proper measures to check the structure. Already there is a case to answer."

He said he was also shocked to learn that the contractor did not place any warning signs where work was being done.

Minister 'angry'

"Their continued stay here does not give us confidence that the next job they are going to do will not bring any risk to public, staff or themselves."

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he was angered by the situation. He said it was only common sense that the concrete could not be held by the thin roofing, which was not intended to withstand the weight placed on it.

"Waterproofing is a very simple job. I have seen it being done before. He then found concrete from the 70's and decided to remove it and he takes it to another side of the hospital, on a site where there is no reinforcement.

"I don't think it would take the weight of a human being. It was not even the part of the hospital where he was supposed to work. This makes me angrier."

Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said all other services at the hospital were not affected and the hospital would continue operating.

She said an alternative access would be made available.

Search and rescue teams continued to search through for signs for anyone trapped in the debris.

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