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Cape Town - Questions of safety surrounding the demolition of the New Eisleben Business Park have been raised again after a wall collapsed, smashing the leg of a Grade 11 pupil from Nelson Mandela High.
Avile Hlam, 19, was airlifted to Groote Schuur Hospital last Tuesday after a wall he was demolishing collapsed on his right leg.
His grandmother was granted permission to tear down the wall and to use the bricks to renovate her home.
“I remember being pulled out, but I then lost consciousness,” Hlam said.
“I thought something like this could happen because what we were doing there was risky.”
Hlam’s mother, Nokubonga, said she had been working on a different wall.
“I heard my son scream for help and when I went to look the brick wall was on top of him. He started having seizures. There was a point where I thought I would lose him.”
Groote Schuur spokesman Alaric Jacobs said the teenager was in a stable condition, although the injuries to his leg were severe.
When the Cape Argus visited him in hospital last week, his leg was a mass of metal pins. He is expected to remain in hospital for the next month until his right ankle heals.
Residents said they heard a noise from the business park area.
“We went to see what was happening, but were chased away by some man,” said Nomandla Qhaloti.
“After a while we went back and saw them trying to put Avile in a Cressida vehicle, but he was in so much pain.”
Then an ambulance arrived.
Safety issues surrounding this demolition had been raised before by residents.
Last week the Cape Argus reported that journalists visiting the area noted that those working there did not have any safety gear.
Nokubonga Hlam said that each week new people were called in to demolish the building in return for the bricks.
“I want that place to close down totally because this is not the first incident where someone has got hurt and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I had plans for my child and look now, he’s lying in hospital.”
Thomas Swana, from the Philippi Economic Development Initiative, former owners of the property, said the building had been sold to a company called Mikardow Trading 19. The Cape Argus was unable to track down the new owners.