Ekurhuleni Municipal spokesperson Themba Gabebe confirmed that the alterations to the private residence in Meyersdal Eco Estate on Johannesburg’s East Rand did not undergo the necessary regulations in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.
“When you erect a structure, you must have plans that are approved by the municipality,” said Gabebe.
According to Gabebe, this did not happen and as a result it has been deemed as an illegal building operation. The municipality is still investigating the incident and no charges have been laid as yet.
It is understood that two private contractors were involved in the alterations of the house.
“As a municipality we condemn this as a grave error of great proportions which could have been avoided if regulations were followed.”
Part of the building collapse happened on Monday morning while builders were busy working on it. There have been seven confirmed dead, while eight were hospitalised with injuries ranging from critical to moderate.
Emergency services worked throughout Monday freeing survivors as well as exhuming the dead, the operation continued on Tuesday morning.
While emergency services searched through the ruins on Tuesday, the status quo remained that no more bodies are hiding among the rubble and debris.
“We are still searching, leaving no stone unturned but we believe there is no one left dead or alive under the rubble,” said Gabebe.
The number of people killed was revised to seven from the initial nine that was reported on Monday.
The upmarket estate was in the news earlier this month when two giraffes were removed from there. The giraffes were being transported in a truck on the N1 highway when one of them hit its head on a bridge and died.