Rescue workers call off search for Tongaat mall survivors

Rescue workers have called off the search for survivors at the collapsed building site in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal, believing there are no more trapped construction workers beneath the half-built shopping mall.

One person was killed and dozens injured in Tuesday's collapse of the three-storey building in Tongaat, 30km north of Durban.

"The entire operation has been stopped and handed over to the department of labour," police spokesperson Mandy Govender told reporters at the site.

Initial reports suggested as many as 50 workers might be trapped under the rubble, but rescue officials working through the night with sniffer dogs recovered only one body and discovered no survivors.

The cause of the collapse remains unclear. District mayor James Nxumalo said local authorities had obtained a series of court injunctions, the latest on November 14, to halt construction.

The owner of the site has been identified as a South African businessperson who is well-known in Durban.

The accident could damage the ruling ANC as it moves toward an election next year if safety regulations are found to have been flouted, because of widespread perceptions of incompetence and corruption in local government.

Durban and the surrounding province of KwaZulu-Natal are also the home of President Jacob Zuma and the region has enjoyed a construction boom in the past few years, based in part on government investment.

Of the 29 people injured, two are in a critical condition in hospital, according to health officials.

The ANC is expected to win an election in April or May next year, but its share of the vote is likely to decrease as young, post-apartheid South Africans with no knowledge of white-minority rule come of age. – Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Guest Author

ANC wants pension funds to finance infrastructure build

The party released its plan for the reconstruction of the country’s post-coronavirus economy on Friday. This would involve changes to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act

The case against Floyd Shivambu

The flow of money from VBS Bank would seem to suggest that the EFF’s second-in-command was an ultimate beneficiary of proceeds of a crime

Cabinet reshuffle rumours: Unlikely to happen any time soon, but…

Persistent rumours of a cabinet reshuffle may be jumping the gun, but they do reflect the political realignment taking place within the ANC

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday