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Inquiry commission investigates Tongaat mall collapse

A commission of inquiry into the mall collapse in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal, will begin on Tuesday.

A section of the mall, which was under construction, collapsed in November. A woman was killed and 29 people were injured.

The department of labour's occupational health and safety manager Phumudzo Maphaha was appointed to preside over the commission, which would investigate events leading to the collapse of the Tongaat mall.

The department was expected to call between 20 and 50 witnesses to appear before the commission.

A total of R2-million was expected to be spent in the commission's work, which was expected to be concluded in six months.

'History of shoddy workmanship'
Meanwhile, in November, it was reported that Gralio Precast, the company responsible for the construction of the Tongaat mall, was awarded another R101-million tender on November 21. The tender was for the construction of RDP houses in the eThekwini municipality.

Democratic Alliance eThekwini caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango at the time said the awarding of the tender was revealed during a finance and procurement meeting in the eThekwini city council.

He said Gralio Precast benefited repeatedly from large tenders, despite shoddy workmanship.

"This is highly questionable. eThekwini must cancel these tenders, and all government entities must blacklist Gralio immediately.

"Gralio has a history of shoddy workmanship. The Manase report, the department of housing and the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) have all chastised this company for poor workmanship in recent years for various government housing contracts. In fact, the Manase report and the NHBRC have both called for Gralio to be investigated," he said. – Sapa, additional reporting by Sarah Evans

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Sapa
Guest Author
Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans interned at the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley for three years before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane). She went on to work as a Mail & Guardian news reporter with areas of interest including crime, law, governance and the nexus between business and politics. 

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