South Africa building collapse death toll rises to 32

A total of 32 people, thought to be construction workers, have now been confirmed dead following a building collapse in South Africa.

A rescue worker removes rubble from the site where construction workers are trapped under a building that collapsed in George, South Africa, 7 May 2024. A rescue worker removes rubble from the site where construction workers are trapped under a building that collapsed in George, South Africa, 7 May 2024. (Image: Reuters/Esa Alexander)

The increase in the death toll, which happened in the city of George on the Western Cape, makes it one of the worst construction disasters the country has ever seen.

Another 20 workers are still unaccounted for.

Initially it was reported that five people had died with dozens more trapped following the collapse of the multi-storey building on 7 May.

South Africa’s minister of public works and infrastructure, Sihle Zikalala visited the site this week as part of a delegation that also included the Engineering Council of South Africa and the Construction Industry Development Board.

Zikalala said that experts from the delegation would help the investigation into the cause of the building’s collapse.

President of the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions Lufuno Ratsiku told SABC News, “Our interest is that at the end of the investigation, the report must indicate the professionals involved in the planning, work, design and project management were registered with professional bodies. Not only ours but also other professional bodies.

“If they are not, the law must take its course. But the main message is to say that the professionals involved in projects must be registered with regulatory bodies so that we can advise and guide them in terms of the processes they need to follow now and then when they develop projects.”

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