Building where floors collapsed was condemned
Yet the building was occupied, and being rented out, when several floors collapsed yesterday, trapping nine people in the debris.
The tenant, Bibimba “Babu” Mafaume, said they started renting the premises four months ago at R8000 a month, but he was not informed that the building was condemned years ago.
Mafuame runs a salon and training centre in the building. It was the salon section that collapsed. He said some of his staff and people who were training were injured.
Acting division commander at Central Fire Station, Adam Merasi, said the building had been condemned for some time.
He said the condition the building was in resulted in it being condemned.
“It’s not habitable; you cannot do any type of living or business in it. It doesn’t correspond with the by-laws of the city,” he said.
Merasi said the floor of the shop collapsed as did the roof. They had removed nine people from the rubble in 10 minutes, and eight were taken to hospital by various emergency services.
“Luckily the structure inside that had collapsed was brittle material like wood and corrugated iron instead of reinforced concrete.” Municipal acting head of communications Mandla Nsele said an engineer and inspector from the city were sent to the scene. “The building in question was previously served with a contravention notice by the Health Unit as it was identified as a health hazard.
“Consequently, the city has now taken the decision to lock down the building.
The owner will be served with a new contravention notice, which requires him to get an engineer to carry out the required remedial work. Once this remedial work is complete, the city will review whether to open the building again,” Nsele said.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka called for an investigation into the collapse.
“We are shocked about this morning’s incident and continue to pray for those who have been affected We are concerned by this incident and have called for an investigation into what could have led to this tragedy,” Hlomuka said.
The department had deployed disaster management officials to work with the eThekwini metro to assist affected families, assess the damage and establish the cause of the collapse.