1 missing in Tongaat mall collapse

2013-11-21 15:41
(Rajesh Jantilal, AFP)

(Rajesh Jantilal, AFP)

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Durban - Officially one person remains unaccounted for after the collapse of a shopping mall under construction in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Mandy Govender said police had so far only been informed of one person missing.

However, police could not rule out that others were buried beneath the football pitch size area of the mall that collapsed on Tuesday. A woman was killed and 29 people injured.

"We are not ruling out that there were other people on site, but only one contractor has told us that they are missing an employee," Govender said.

A crane was removing rubble on the site on Thursday as members of the police search and rescue unit watched.

Three workers were planting poles for a fence around the mall.

On Wednesday, eThekwini metro Mayor James Nxumalo told reporters the developers and owners of the property, Rectangular Property Investments, never sought any permission to complete the mall.

He said construction went on despite no building plans ever having been approved. The municipality took the matter to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban and was granted an order on 14 November directing Rectangular Property Investments to suspend all building work.

The firm Gralio Construction, which was building the mall and some of whose workers were among the injured, could not be reached for comment.

A receptionist said: "I have just been asked to take messages and someone will get back to you."

KwaZulu-Natal chief labour inspector Abey Raspae confirmed that no other bodies had been found. He said the department had not been told how many people had not been accounted for.

Govender said a culpable homicide docket had been opened.

She said this was standard procedure in the event of a death and it was too early to say who would be charged.

The mall was scheduled to open in March next year.

Read more on:    james nxumalo  |  durban  |  tongaat mall collapse

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