Alberton house contractor keeps mum at commission of inquiry

NOTE: Article first appeared on The Citizen website on October 29, 2014.

Question after question posed by a commission sitting in Tshwane on Wednesday into the collapsed building near Alberton which left seven people killed and nine injured, were ignored by the contractor of the Meyersdal Eco Estate when questioned.

FILE PICTURE: Paramedics on the scene in Meyersdal Eco Estate, Alberton in the south of Johannesburg on 18 August 2014 after a building collapsed. Picture Alberton Record/CNS
FILE PICTURE: Paramedics on the scene in Meyersdal Eco Estate, Alberton in the south of Johannesburg on 18 August 2014 after a building collapsed. Picture Alberton Record/CNS

Errol Romburgh, a member of Romicon, the construction company that was building the luxury house at the estate when part of it collapsed, refused to answer questions posed by presiding officer, Phumudzo Maphaha.

This morning the comission heard Romburgh say he was following his legal advice to use his legal right to “not answer any incriminating questions”.

The Meyersdal Structural Collapse Incident Inquiry has been set up to further investigate the collapse that happened on August 18.

Despite Romburgh’s refusal, Maphaha continued to put questions to him about his workers and health and safety issues on site. He concluded that “recommendations will be made to the National Prosecuting Authority,” following Romburgh’s failure to comply by remaining silent.


Alberton house collapse construction worker can’t remember what happened

Several men have been injured, eight are presumed to be dead and two are still missing beneath the rubble of collapse building in Alberton, Johannesburg South. Picture: ER24 Flickr
Several men have been injured, eight are presumed to be dead and two are still missing beneath the rubble of collapse building in Alberton, Johannesburg South. Picture: ER24 Flickr

Maphaha said the purpose was particularly to investigate the cause of the collapse that led to the deaths and injuries.

Prior to Romburgh three workers gave their testimony to the commission. They were all on site when the building collapsed but could not remember how the structure came tumbling down, only waking up later in hospital.

Collins Mohale said he was given a hard hat, boots, gloves and overall but never shown how to use them. “Not everyone wore the protective clothes,” he added.

Second witness, Patrick Moremi said in the eight years he had worked for Romicon, he had undergone no health and saftey training or medical check-ups.

Another witness and worker who survived the collapse, Sandile Mabuza gave similar testimony.

The proceedings continue.

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