Tongaat mall mystery body

2013-12-24 00:00

MYSTERY surrounds the decomposing corpse of a man found on the site of the collapsed mall in Tongaat yesterday. The body was not a victim of the disaster that occurred on November 19 but appears to be that of a suspect in a robbery.

The KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Rescue Services were first called to the scene when the body was found but stood down when it was discovered the body was not a victim of the mall collapse but probably that of a suspect involved in a robbery two weeks ago, which meant it was now a police matter. The SAPS Search and Rescue under unit commander Dave Steyn was then alerted to come and remove the body from the site.

The body was found on the ground at the centre of the mall site below a broken section of the first floor. It was not visible from the railway adjacent to the site as it was obscured by mounds of rubble from the collapse. From other vantage points the body would have been obscured by the mall structure still in place. The site has been closed since the collapse and it is understood the body was found after security guards became aware of the smell.

Quentin Power of the volunteer Ballito Special Rescue unit was also assisting at the scene. “We were part of the original response team when the mall collapsed,” he said. “We got a call at 11 this morning that a body had been found and that it was related to the collapse, so we came out.”

However, when Power arrived it was ascertained that the body was that of a robbery suspect and he remained to provide “extra manpower” for the SAPS. “It looks as if he had run onto the site and come over the edge of the building,” he said.

“He hadn’t been found earlier because the site had been closed off,” said Power. “It was only later that the smell alerted the perimeter patrol.”

Two other sources referred to the man being chased by members of the community and assaulted after a robbery had taken place.

The body was placed in a police body bag and taken to the mortuary where a post-mortem will be carried out while Tongaat SAPS detectives begin looking for the complainant in a robbery that took place two weeks ago.

The complainant, whose name is not known, is a woman who had a necklace stolen while shopping at the nearby Golden Sun supermarket. According to a supermarket employee, who did not want to be named, the woman had her necklace stolen “just as she had finished shopping” and was at the till near the shop entrance. The suspect, who was described as wearing brown clothes, took the necklace from the woman’s neck then ran across the road to the building site.

The dead man was wearing a brown shirt and three-quarter length brown trousers and a necklace was found close to the body.

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