Tongaat Mall collapse closing arguments to be heard

FILE PICTURE: Rescuers search for survivors on November 20, 2013 under the rubble at the Tongaat Mall, after a floor collapsed on the eve. Picture: AFP

Closing arguments in the Tongaat Mall Structural Collapse Commission of Inquiry will occur on Friday, the labour department has said.

The session is expected to see legal representatives of various parties close the curtain to the more than-a-year-long inquiry. These include: the contractor or owner, engineer, eThekwini Municipality, and workers represented by the Labour Department of Labour. “The purpose of the meeting is to familiarise the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) with complex process that were applied during the contractual and construction stages of the Tongaat Mall.”

It would also enable the NPA to view the actual construction site before it is handed over to the client, which will ease the understanding of the construction terminology and vocabulary used during design, construction and inquiry phases.

After the meeting, the commissioner will make arrangements with the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to submit the final report with recommendations, a process that is expected to take about 60 days. “The commission is also planning to take officials from the NPA to the site of the collapsed Mall after the meeting.”

The Inquiry was appointed following the collapse of the mall that was still under construction in November 2013. Two workers died and 29 others were injured. The Inquiry is chaired by Phumudzo Maphaha and assisted by co-presiding officers Sandile Kubheka and Lennie Samuel.

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