Mall collapse site visited

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tongaat mall july 9 SUPPLIED A commission of inquiry into the deadly collapse of the partly-built Tongaat Mall is currently sitting.

Durban - Labour department officials visited the Tongaat Mall on Friday to determine how much steel was built into a beam believed to have contributed to the structure's collapse.

A portion of the mall caved in on November 19 last year, claiming the lives of two people and injuring 29.

By mid-afternoon on Friday, a crane with a pressure drill was being used to break beam seven, but there was still no sign of the bars.

Representatives from Gralio Precast and Axiom Consulting engineers, and a contingent of journalists, looked on as work continued.

During previous sittings of the commission of inquiry, established by the labour department, questions have arisen about a beam that was supposed to contain 19 steel bars.

Initial investigations revealed that only seven bars were visible in the collapsed beam, identified as beam seven.

On Thursday the labour department's occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha, who chairs the commission, ordered that a site visit be conducted and machinery brought in to break up the beam and determine how many steel bars it contained.

Engineers have previously told the commission the collapse was brought about by the collapse of two columns, identified as columns 243 and 319, or beam seven.

During previous testimony it was claimed that the columns were badly designed and that weak concrete was used.

Apart from the apparent lack of steel bars in beam seven, the concrete to make the beam was not poured in one go.

The commission resumes on September 4.

Sapa



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