Tongaat mall plans rejected four times

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IOL pic apr2 tongaat mall collapse file Associated Press Paramedics walk towards the Tongaat Mall on November 19, 2013. Rescue teams rushed to the construction site after part of the mall collapsed. File picture: AP

Durban - Earthworks plans for the Tongaat Mall, outside Durban, which partially caved in last year, were rejected four times, a commission of inquiry into the collapse heard on Thursday.

Rajagopaul Naidoo, who heads up the municipality's development, applications and approvals department, said the plans for the earthworks were rejected four times for “issues that could have been rectified by the architect”.

The plans were first rejected in March last year, and then again in May, July, and finally in August.

The commission heard the plans for the earthworks upon which the mall was to be built had been approved in principle by the municipality's land use department.

But because building was within 10m of a railway line, consent was needed from Transnet.

A building inspector had visited the site and approved the earthworks, but the required consent from Transnet was never obtained.

Naidoo said even if land use approval had been obtained, it did not mean that there had been approval from his department.

Referring to the actual structure that was to be the mall, Naidoo said: “To date there was no building plan submitted to our department.”

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

Construction worker Siyabonga Zuma testified earlier he believed the concrete had been given enough time to cure, but the supports holding up the beams on which a concrete slab rested had been removed too soon.

“The scaffolding was taken down too quickly. It was needed elsewhere.”

Zuma said that before removing the scaffolding and supports he had not noticed anything strange.

“There was only a small area that still needed to be stripped (on the day). There were only supports under a beam.”

The commission is headed by the department of labour's occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha.

The inquiry continues.

Sapa



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