Tongaat inquiry resumes

By Drum Digital
21 July 2014

In February this year, a commission of inquiry tasked with finding out the cause of the collapse began its hearings.

The labour department's occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha and two presiding officers will be leading the commission of inquiry into  the Tongaat Mall collapse.

Two workers, Zakithi Nxumalo and Zwelibanzi Masuku, were killed and 29 people injured when a concrete slab from a partially built mall collapsed in November 2013.

An expert engineer, Dr Piet Pretorius, is expected to be the first witness called when it resumes today.

Pretorius is expected to testify in relation to the bracing of the construction site.

Bracing is a procedure whereby supports are put up to strengthen and reinforce building structures -- allowing them to handle particular weight loads.

After the completion of the hearings, the commission is expected to prepare a report on its findings and formulate recommendations to be given to the labour minister and the director of public prosecutions.

The most recent focus of the hearings has been about three weak points, a beam and two columns, that engineers have identified as the possible triggers for the collapse.

Previously Rob Young, the engineer for the contractor Gralio Precast, said the only issue that the various engineers were still arguing about was whether the part of the site under investigation was braced.


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