Engineer didn’t inspect 84 ton Meyersdal structure

NOTE: Article first appeared on The Citizen website on October 30, 2014. 

A commission of inquiry into a structure that collapsed at an estate in Meyersdal has heard that the slab that fell, weighed 84 tonnes.

Seven men died and eight more were injured when the slab fell on them.

On Thursday, the second day of the Meyersdal Structural Collapse Incident Inquiry faced another hostile witness, as the engineer refuses to answer the commission’s questions.

Ranjan Galal, the engineer of the structure, dodged numerous questions asked by presiding officer, Phumudzo Maphaha. This was much like contractor, Errol Romburgh did on Wednesday.

After a barrage of questions, Galal cracked when Maphaha put it to him that his design and not the construction work, was responsible for the collapse.

“It was not my design that caused the collapse,” said Galal. Even though earlier in his testimony he had said that the design shown on TV screens during inquiry proceedings, was not his but an architect’s. Galal changed his tune when Maphaha said they had been on the site together after the collapse.

Maphaha insinuated that the 84 ton slab was supported by columns that could not support that weight. Along with this he said those weak pillars were built atop “no foundation, they were on a retaining wall”.

The commission adjourned after all the commission’s witness appeared within two days. Maphaha will be compiling a report and making recommendations to the director of public prosecution.

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