De­ceased con­trac­tor blamed for roof col­lapse

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - TANKISO MAKHETHA tankiso.makhetha@inl.co.za

GAUT­ENG’S Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and De­vel­op­ment wants to hold the com­pany re­spon­si­ble for ren­o­va­tions at Char­lotte Max­eke Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal li­able for a roof col­lapse there.

But the owner of Thandzanani Trad­ing En­ter­prises – which has been fin­gered as neg­li­gent – has died.

In­fra­struc­ture and De­vel­op­ment MEC Ja­cob Mam­abolo has placed the blame for the March roof col­lapse at the hos­pi­tal squarely on Thandzanani.

Mam­abolo said the roof over the en­trance to the hos­pi­tal’s foyer col­lapsed be­cause of se­vere over­load­ing. Five peo­ple sus­tained mi­nor in­juries.

Linda John Gama, who owns the com­pany, has died and his le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives say they have not re­ceived Mam­abolo’s re­port.

At­tor­ney Jab­u­lani Ndlovu said they had not re­ceived any up­dates on the re­port. “The last time we com­mu­ni­cated with Adams & Adams At­tor­neys, they said they were still com­pil­ing the re­port,” he said. “The owner of Thandzanani has passed away and I have not re­ceived in­struc­tions since his death.”

Adams & Adams was ap­pointed to probe the col­lapse.

Mam­abolo yes­ter­day said the depart­ment would be tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against Thandzanani.

He said: “Al­though the ex­tent of the over­load­ing can­not be pre­cisely de­ter­mined, the weight placed on the roof greatly ex­ceeded its de­sign ca­pac­ity. The over­load­ing was caused by the stock­pil­ing of crushed stone.”

Mam­abolo ex­plained that crushed stone was moved to the roof as part of the ex­e­cu­tion of the wa­ter­proof­ing con­tract.

“The in­ten­tion was for the crushed stone to be re­moved. Re­gret­tably, the stone was stock­piled in­stead of be­ing taken off the roof through a chute that had been erected for that pur­pose above the en­trance to the hos­pi­tal. The ex­ces­sive load cre­ated as a re­sult caused the roof to col­lapse,” he noted.

“The point we are mak­ing is that Thandzanani was the one do­ing wa­ter­proof­ing. And this com­pany was neg­li­gent in how it con­ducted its work, be­cause it led to the stones be­ing piled on the roof in­stead of re­mov­ing them,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Mam­abolo, the re­port vin­di­cated the govern­ment and con­firmed his orig­i­nal po­si­tion that there was shoddy main­te­nance work on the part of the con­trac­tor.

In ad­di­tion, Mam­abolo said the depart­ment, through Adams & Adams, would be tak­ing Thandzanani to court.

He added that the depart­ment would be re­view­ing the ap­point­ment of con­trac­tors.

“This re­view com­menced well be­fore the in­ci­dent at Char­lotte Max­eke and will be con­cluded as a mat­ter of ur­gency,” he said.

Mam­abolo said he re­ceived pre­lim­i­nary brief­ings on po­ten­tial ar­eas of im­prove­ment and would be an­nounc­ing an ac­tion plan.

DA MPL Jack Bloom crit­i­cised Mam­abolo, say­ing his depart­ment failed to man­age the con­struc­tion at the hos­pi­tal ef­fi­ciently and failed to en­force qual­ity stan­dards.

“The MEC’s fail­ure to man­age this con­struc­tion project has re­sulted in the in­jury of five peo­ple,” Bloom said. “Ef­fi­cient site com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a health and risk-man­age­ment pro­to­col must be im­ple­mented to en­sure the safety of con­struc­tion sites,” Bloom said.

PIC­TURE: EPA

SHODDY WORK­MAN­SHIP: The col­lapsed roof at Char­lotte Max­eke Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal.

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