George building collapse: ‘There must be consequences for this tragedy,’ says Premier Alan Winde

The scene of the five story building collapse in George. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

The scene of the five story building collapse in George. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Published May 22, 2024


The search and recovery operation in the George building collapse which was concluded last week is now being thoroughly investigated by multiple government agencies.

The five-story building collapsed on Monday, May 6, just after 2pm. A total of 81 workers were on-site at the time of the tragic incident and 33 workers died.

The site was handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Friday, May 17.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has appointed structural engineers, V3 Consulting Engineers, to probe the matter.

“While we are aware of other investigations that are under way by other bodies, this incident happened in our province and impacted our residents. As Premier I have a responsibility to our residents to ensure that we get the answers that everyone is seeking

“It was emphasised that the collecting of samples from the site had to be done as soon as possible before the rubble was removed to ensure the integrity of the process. At the same time, it was important to ensure that no investigation interfered with the search, rescue, and recovery operation,” Winde said.

Materail samples needed to be collected and documented.

Winde said the process began as soon as the investigating team arrived on site and were undertaken with the cooperation of the SAPS.

Evidence was then collected under the supervision of the SAPS.

“We will continue to work together until the conclusion of all investigations. We will do everything possible to ensure this entire process is handled with the professionalism and delicacy that it deserves. But we also have a commitment to the residents of this province to help them understand what happened and if steps need to be taken what actions should be taken,” Winde said.

Documents being sourced for the investigation include: construction drawings, planning and approval applications, occupation health and safety reports, and site diaries.

Once all documents are sourced and materials collected, the evidence will be analysed accordingly.

Technical testing will also be conducted which is part of the geotechnical assessment as well as interviews with service providers in this project.

Winde said this must be a clinical thorough process to ensure all the evidence that is processed and documented will be sufficient enough to hold up in any ensuing legal matter.

“There must be consequences for this tragedy. We owe this to the victims and their families. We also have a responsibility to ensure that everything is done to prevent a similar tragedy like this happening in our province again,” Winde said.

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