Number of trapped workers in George collapsed building revised, as death toll rise to 8

The Garden Route District Joint Operational Centre established for the Victoria Street Building Site collapse has updated the figure for those present on site at the time that a multi-storey building collapsed in George on Monday.

‘’This follows intensive discussions and scrutinization of the safety records  with the responsible contractors. The contractor has now confirmed that the number of workers on site at the time of collapse was 81. (previously reports as 75),’’ said Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe, George Municipality spokesperson.

COURTESY Herman Pieters, Garden Route District Municipality


The death toll, as of 9a.m on Thursday morning, rose to 8, with 44 workers still unaccounted for.

Mangqwengqwe says intensive discussions and scrutinisation of the safety records with the responsible contractors were held.

‘’Rescue efforts have continued overnight. The emergency response team is implementing more substantive concrete breakers and additional trucks to remove building rubble from the site.’’

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape, has called on law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident.

‘’COSATU is appealing to the owners of this company to look after the families of the deceased and injured construction workers. We will be engaging with the Department of Employment and Labour and the Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases to ensure that relief is provided to these workers and their families as required by law,’’ said Malvern de Bruyn, COSATU Western Cape Secretary.

‘’The Federation demands that the owners and management of the construction company be held liable for the deaths, injuries and loss of earnings of these workers.  The employers must be held liable for any negligence and criminal conduct that has resulted in this horrific tragedy. Workers sell their labour and not their lives.  They should not be treated like glorified slaves by greedy employers. We reiterate our call that workers unite in order to ensure that employers do not put profits before the health and safety of workers,’’ he added.

South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) shared COSATU’s sentiments.

‘’Should it be found that precautionary measures and warnings were ignored by employers and mangers on site because of a rush to complete the building, they must be held accountable,’’ said Xantilomzi Mapukata, SAFTU Western Cape spokesperson.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi will brief the media on Thursday afternoon, regarding this incident.

‘’The minister will also visit the collapsed building and is likely to interact and get an update from rescuers and Occupational health and Safety (OHS) inspectors from, the Department of employment and labour. The departments OHS inspectors were dispatched on Monday to the site shortly after the incident occurred,’’ said Sabelo Mali, Ministerial liaison Officer.

 

Done by: Mitchum George

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