19 March 2019

South Africa: Labour On Imperial Logistics Construction Structural Collapse Inquiry

press release

Imperial Logistics Construction Structural collapse inquiry goes on recess

The Imperial Logistics Construction Structural collapse inquiry appointed by the Department of Labour to investigate the causes of the collapse of a building in Jacobs, Durban is set to go on a recess and will reconvene on 18 June 2019.

Expected to take a stand when the inquiry reconvene is Demo Salerno, a construction site Principal Agent. Salerno, who is under oath was on Friday supposed to take the stand when the inquiry adjourned when it was realised that other parties' legal representatives would require additional time than was allocated to acquire information.

To date 23 witnesses have been interrogated - from building inspector from Ethekwini municipality, expert witnesses (engineers), and the Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Steven Smith. At least four witnesses will be expected to testify before the inquiry concludes its work.

The second sitting of the inquiry which ended on Friday started on March 4.

The Section 32 inquiry started gathering testimony on 23 February.

The Jacobs structural collapse led to the deaths of four workers: Bhekuyise Moses Sibiya, France Mokhuthu Sekalu, Constandino Mapukula and Siyabonga Bhane. Four other workers were injured.

This follows an incident on the 28 March 2018, in which Echo Prestress, a precast roofing company, were busy with the final installation of the concrete precast roof slab. At approximately 12H30, the precast concrete structure collapsed resulting in the deaths and injury of workers.

This fatal collapse caused structural damage to an adjacent building and damages to a heavy duty vehicle which was stationary on the public road along the perimeter fence of the facility.

Since then, the Department of Labour's inspectors issued a prohibition notice to Imperial Logistics, prohibiting it from any further work until the circumstances and root cause surrounding the collapse were investigated.

The Section 32 hearing has been appointed by the Department of Labour Chief Inspector, Mr Tibor Szana to investigate levels of adherence to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), and negligence that caused occupational injuries and deaths of workers.

Mr. Sandile Kubeka a Department of Labour Specialist: Occupational Health & Safety has been appointed the Presiding Inspector of the Formal Inquiry. He is assisted by Mr Lennie Samuel, a Forensic Investigator from the Department of Labour's Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch.

The affected parties in the Jacobs building collapse incident include: Imperial Logistics, Tilt Up SA, Talmac Engineering, ECHO Precast, Bedrock Construction, Archi Studio, JDF Construction, Moedi Engineering, Benrob Construction, and ECHO Prestress.

The inquiry starts from 10:00am.

Media is invited to the inquiry.

Issued by: Department of Labour

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