Tongaat Mall builders warned on evidence

2014-06-05 20:11
(Photo: file, Sapa)

(Photo: file, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - The company which was building the ill-fated Tongaat Mall was warned on Thursday it faces being accused of destroying evidence.

"If we don't come to a conclusion, I will make a ruling that evidence has been destroyed," the labour department's occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha warned.

He heads the three-man commission sitting in Tongaat investigating a collapse of a section of the mall.

It emerged on Thursday that the results of 13 concrete samples taken from the mall had not been presented to the commission.

Two people were killed and 29 injured when a section of the mall, which was under construction, collapsed on 19 November last year.

Maphaha questioned Gralio Precast's advocate Saleem Khan about where the samples were. Khan said they had been tested by a company called Concrete Testing Specialists.

A visibly annoyed Maphaha told Khan that 36 samples were given to structural engineer Andre Ballack. They were tested by the laboratory Contest in the presence of a member of the commission.

A further 29 samples were given to representatives of Gralio. Sixteen of these were tested by Beton-Lab CC in the presence of Maphaha himself. According to Khan the other 13 were tested by the firm Concrete Testing.

None of the tests by Concrete Testing were done in the presence of a member of the commission and none of the results were submitted to the commission.

Maphaha pointed out that Gralio was informed verbally and in writing that all tests had to be carried out in the presence of the commission.

"Under no circumstances did we say there would be any tests where the department of labour will not be present," he said.

Khan said he would take instructions from his client and address the commission's concerns regarding the missing tests on Friday.

The 36 samples taken by Ballack and tested by Contest were taken from one beam and six columns. Only the concrete from two columns met the minimum required strength of 24 megapascals (MPa).

Ian Topping, for the municipality, told the inquiry tests of concrete slabs carried out by Contest prior to the mall's collapse showed that of the 64 samples taken from the concrete that Gralio mixed on site, only 14 met the 30 MPa requirement.

He said of Contest's 36 tests three missed the 30 MPa requirement with readings of 29 MPa.

On Wednesday the commission heard that some of the concrete tested had a strength as low as nine MPa.

Topping said of Contest's 36 tests, conducted on cement supplied by the company NPC, only three missed the 30 MPa requirement with readings of 29 MPa. The rest met the requirement.

NPC supplied ready-mixed cement. Gralio mixed its own cement on site.

The commission resumes on Friday.

Read more on:    durban  |  tongaat mall collapse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.