Durban hotels hit with prohibition notices

A portion of the Southern Sun Rosebank Hotel roof collapsed after a hail storm on Monday. Picture: X/Priya Sonpal

A portion of the Southern Sun Rosebank Hotel roof collapsed after a hail storm on Monday. Picture: X/Priya Sonpal

Published Nov 16, 2023


Inspectors from the Department of Employment and Labour on Wednesday issued two prohibition notices and a number of contravention notices on compliance issues to hotels in Durban.

This comes after they carried out a number of inspections ahead of the festive season.

The inspections came after a section of a roof collapsed at the Southern Sun Rosebank Hotel in Johannesburg following a hailstorm this week.

Lennie Samuels, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) inspector at the Department of Employment and Labour, said they issued two prohibition notices to hotels in Durban.

“The reason we issued prohibition notices was because some of the machinery was unsafe.

“Basically a prohibition means the section can’t be used until compliance is met.

“A number of contravention notices have also been issued. That basically means that the hotel has 60 days to be compliant.”

Samuels added that the contravention notices were issued for structural non-compliance, electrical non-compliance for certain areas, for building maintenance issues and for fire fighting equipment such as extinguishers which were not enough.

The hotel inspections came after an instruction from Inspector General Aggy Moiloa.

Samuels said: “A portion of the Southern Sun Rosebank Hotel roof collapsed after a hail storm on Monday.

“Our chief inspector and other inspectors are still conducting inspections at the Rosebank Southern Sun Hotel and they will release their findings once concluded.

“Following this, the inspector general asked us to conduct inspections at hotels and more especially on the structure of the hotels.”

Samuels added that OHS inspections are concerned with compliance with the OHS Act and regulations.

“One of the regulations applies to the electrical installations.

“It stipulates every user and installation must have a valid certificate of compliance.

“We have various other regulations that we test the employer against. One of the things we have done is to check that the structure has been inspected periodically and deemed safe by a competent person, which is generally a structural engineer.

“Our job is to ensure that prohibition and contravention notices are issued. If compliance is not fulfilled it can lead to prosecution.”

Approached for comment, Southern Sun Hotels said they only found out about the inspections from a media release that the Department of Labour and Employment issued.

“We have never seen a nationwide inspection like this following an incident, particularly since the incident is limited to a relatively minor portion of the hotel, where a section of the restaurant roof collapsed under the weight of a sudden, heavy hailstorm.”

Southern Sun added that they acknowledged the right of the department to inspect their facilities.

“We undergo labour inspections fairly regularly in the ordinary course of business and are co-operating with these as normal, albeit that the volume of inspections in one day is stretching our HR resources.

“There is no discernible impact on our business and the hotels do not have to close for the inspection, which consists largely of a visual inspection of the building and a request for various compliance related documentation.”

Southern Sun added that they were assessing damage to the Rosebank hotel.

“We are assessing the damage and obviously need to ensure that there are no consequential weak points in the roof structure as a result of this damage, and that all the water, electric and safety systems have been reset and tested, after which the hotel should be able to open again.”

Department of Employment and labour inspectors Simanga Mabaso and Lennie Samuels.

Southern Sun added that this property had a second restaurant and so it would be able to trade as normal while the damaged area was repaired.

“Until then we have relocated reservations and events to our other hotels in the Sandton area. We are grateful for the understanding and co-operation shown by our customers.”

The Mercury

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