Thongathi (Tongaat) Mall Structural Collapse Commission of Inquiry closes the curtain with submission of closing arguments

BY SUPPLIED - MARCH 24, 2015

The Thongathi (Tongaat) Mall Structural Collapse Commission of Inquiry will on Friday (March 27) host a session in which legal representatives of various parties will be expected to table their closing arguments – closing the curtain to the more than-a-year-long inquiry.

The Inquiry is expected to hear the closing arguments of legal representatives of various parties with an interest in the collapse of the Mall. These include: the contractor/owner; engineer; eThekwini Municipality; and the workers represented by the Department of Labour.

The session on the closing arguments will be held on Friday (March 27) at 08:45am.

However, this will be preceded by a closed-door meeting on Thursday (March 26) between the commissioners of the Department of Labour-appointed Commission of Inquiry and officials from the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

The purpose of the meeting is to familiarise the NPA with complex process that were applied during the contractual and construction stages of the Tongaat Mall;

  • To enable the office of 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;
  • To listen to closing arguments that will be presented by the parties involved during the inquiry.

After the said 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 Thongathi Mall Commission of Inquiry was appointed following the structural collapse of the mall that was still under construction on the 19th of November 2013. The collapsed led to the death of two workers and injury to 29.

The Section 32 hearing, was instituted by the Department of Labour in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act - to gather evidence on negligence that may have resulted in occupational injuries and death of workers.

The Inquiry is chaired by Phumudzo Maphaha, who assisted by co-presiding officers Sandile Kubheka and Lennie Samuel.

Both this week’s meetings / briefings will take place at the North Coast Town’s (Tongaat) Municipal offices.