Emergency services were called to a chaotic scene after a building collapsed in Dr Pixley kaSeme Street near Warwick Road in Durban on Thursday. Picture: Zanele Zulu/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN - The eThekwini municipality has decided to lock down a building that collapsed in Dr Pixley kaSeme Street, after the owner failed to act in accordance with a contravention notice previously served on him by the city's health unit.

The municipality said that its health unit had served the owner with a contravention notice previously as it was identified as a health hazard.

eThekwini municipality fire department responded to reports of the collapsed building. On investigation at the scene it found that the ceiling and floor of the upper level had collapsed, as well as the ceiling of the first floor. 

The fire department said the collapsed levels were believed to have been constructed from corrugated sheeting. An engineer and inspector from the City were on scene. 

"Consequently, the city has now taken the decision to lock down the building," acting head of communications for the municipality, Mandla Nsele said in a statement on Thursday. 

"The owner of the building 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. 

Nine people including a child of about three years were taken to various hospitals in the city with injuries that ranged from minor to moderate after they were rescued from the partially collapsed building, Rescue Care emergency service said in a statement on Thursday.  

A spokesperson for Rescue Care, Garrith Jamieson, said that about 12.30pm  on Thursday, the emergency service responded to reports of a collapsed building and paramedics assisted people at the scene. 

He also said that the Rescue Care, the SAPS, Metro police search and rescue, as well as the eThekwini fire department were at the scene. 

Jamieson said that after the building was cleared, the police brought in sniffer dogs to "confirm and assess".

African News Agency (ANA)