Police launch probe after wall kills construction workers in Ballito

KwaZulu-Natal police have launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the collapse of a wall that fell on five construction workers, killing four at a construction site on Zen Drive in Ballito

The incident happened on Saturday,18 May. 

FOUR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS DIE IN BALLITO 

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Colonel Robert Netshiunda, said the information they have at this stage indicates that 14 construction workers were at the bottom of the escarpment building a gabion retaining wall when the wall collapsed and buried five workers underneath. 

SAPS Search and Rescue teams at the construction site in Ballito where four workers died. Image: Supplied

Netshiunda said phe police’s Search and Rescue team working with other private entities managed to rescue all five victims, however four of them were certified dead at the scene. 

One worker was found alive approximately six hours after the collapse of the wall. 

“Inquest dockets have been opened for investigation. The circumstances that led to the collapse of the wall are also part of police investigations,” Netshiunda said. 

GEORGE BUILDING COLLAPSE SCENE HANDED OVER TO POLICE

The Ballito incident happens nearly two weeks after a five-storey building under construction collapsed and killed over 30 workers in George, Western Cape.

Search and rescue efforts were completed on Friday, 17 May. Consequently, the site was classified as a crime scene and was officially handed over for a formal investigation by the SAPS who will hand it over to the Department of Labour and Employment for their formal investigation to be conducted.

Initially, it was reported that 81 workers were on site when the incident happened, however, authorities revised the number to 62 on Friday.

According to the George Municipality, the confirmed statistics for the incident are:

Rescued and recovered: 62

Deceased: 33

Of the 33 deceased, two (2) still to be formally identified

Hospitalised: 10

Discharged: 19

President Cyril Ramaphosa also visited the site during the week and also assured that there will be assistance for those in hospital and there will be assistance for those who have to be buried

“Yes, there will also be compensation that will have to go through the various channels of our various institutions because this was a work situation, everything has to be looked at to see the extent to which compensation can be made available [sic],” he said. 

[WATCH] President Cyril Ramaphosa says victims of the George building collapse will be compensated. The government will assist families of the deceased with burials and the injured with hospitalisation, etc.#Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/eYULlh2Uoa

— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) May 16, 2024

South African labour laws state that if a worker gets injured, contract a disease or die while working, the worker or their dependants can claim from the Compensation Fund.

The fund pays compensation to permanent and casual workers, trainees and apprentices who are injured or contract a disease in the course of their work and lose income as a result.