Tongaat Shopping Mall in KwaZulu-Natal Collapses

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The roof of the half-built Tongaat Shopping Mall located in Tongaat north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, collapsed around 4.30pm on Tuesday killing at least 1 person and trapping 50 under rubbles. The roof of the half-built Tongaat Shopping Mall located in Tongaat north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, collapsed around 4.30pm on Tuesday killing at least 1 person and trapping 50 under rubbles.

The roof of the half-built Tongaat Shopping Mall located in Tongaat north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, collapsed around 4.30pm on Tuesday killing at least 1 person and trapping 50 under rubbles.

The Tongaat shopping centre has left 50 construction workers trapped in the site and at least 26 taken to hospital with "massive traumatic injuries," according to South African emergency services.

Netcare911 spokesman Chris Botha said the identity of the person who died could not be confimed because they were crushed beneath the concrete.

"The scene is extremely horrific ... concrete big blocks have fallen on to people," he said from the scene.

The injured were taken to Victoria Hospital in Tongaat and to Umhlanga Hospital, and one critically injured patient was flown to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

Building Plans Were Not Passed

Meanwhile the owner of the building that collapsed in Tongaat has confirmed that plans for the shopping mall had not been passed.

Controversial Businessman Jay Singh confirmed on Tuesday night that the mall was being built by his company, Gralio.

According to Singh, it was not uncommon in the building industry for developments to begin before plans had been passed by the municipality.

He said: “Often you start building without plans being passed. But even if the plans had been passed this incident would still have happened because this was an engineering problem. It had nothing to do with the plans.”

Work on the shopping mall in Tongaat began in 2010. However, before contractors moved on to the site, more than a hundred residents had to vacate SJ Mansions flats to make way for the project.

Singh said he had done everything that he needed to do in respect of the mall development.

“This is a big tragedy. But everything was aboveboard. I’m flying the engineers out this evening (Tuesday) from Johannesburg to find out what went wrong. They inspected everything and passed it.”

According to Singh, construction of the mall started about six months ago and it was expected to open in April next year. Spar had been confirmed as the anchor tenant in the 16 000 square metre multi-storey development.

Tongaat community leader Brian Jayanathan waged a battle against the construction of the mall.

Jayanathan, an eThekwini councillor for ward 61, said in an interview that there was a court order in place to stop the development, but that this had been ignored.

“They were racing to get this finished for Christmas,” he said.

He said the project started in 2010 but was fraught with delays because the property developers did not abide by eThekwini building regulations.

Durban’s deputy mayor, Nomvusa Shabalala, who was at the scene on Tuesday night, told journalists that the municipality had ordered that construction work be stopped on the site a month ago.

“Processes were not followed. There should have been no construction.”

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Durban Property Market  |  Ethekwini Municipality  |  Jay Singh  |  Nomvusa Shabalala  |  Tongaat Mall