File picture: Rescue Care

Johannesburg - An expert witness, Robert Wilkens from Benrob Construction, has been called to testify at the inquiry investigating the cause of the collapse of a building which killed four workers in Durban, the Department of Labour said on Wednesday.

In March 2018, four people were killed and four others injured when a two-storey building which was under construction on the premises of Imperial Logistics collapsed onto an articulated truck that was stationary on the public road along the perimeter fence on 11 Milner Street in Jacobs, Durban.

Workers of precast roofing company, Echo Prestress, were busy with the final installation of the concrete precast roof slab when the precast concrete structure collapsed, resulting in the deaths and injury of workers.

They were identified as Bhekuyise Moses Sibiya, France Mokhuthu Sekalu, Constandino Mapukula and Siyabonga Bhane. 

Since then, the department of labour's inspectors issued a prohibition notice to Imperial Logistics, prohibiting it from any further work until the circumstances and root cause surrounding the collapse have been investigated. 

The Section 32 inquiry appointed by the department's chief inspector Tibor Szana is investigating the levels of adherence to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), and alleged negligence that caused occupational injuries and the death of workers.

The inquiry first sat in January where six expert witnesses were quizzed. Of the total of 22 witnesses lined to testify before the Commission, six have already done so and additional witnesses may be called in to testify based on information presented at the inquiry.

Witnesses that have testified to date include witnesses from Imperial Logistics, JDF Construction, Bedrock Construction, Talmac Engineering, and Tilt Up Systems. Wilkens will testify when the inquiry resumes for a second session from 4-15 March. 

The affected parties in the Jacobs building collapse incident include Imperial Logistics, Tilt Up SA, Talmac Engineering, ECHO Precast, Bedrock Construction, Archi Studio, JDF Construction, Moedi Engineering, Benrob Construction, and ECHO Prestress.  

African News Agency/ANA