Engineers quizzed about building disaster

The second group of witnesses was cross examined recently, during the second day of the formal inquiry into the 2008 Stellenbosch construction accident which left three workers dead and four others seriously injured.

The accident occurred when a building they were renovating at Distillery Street, Bosman Crossing collapsed on them.

First to take the stand was engineer Robert Moffat appointed by the Engineering Council of South Africa, to do a provisional investigation into the incident so as to establish the cause of the accident from the engineering perspective. He was followed by Henrick Conradie who had to explain his involvement as an architecture associated with this project, then came a quantity surveyor Deon von Herthog.

Due to evidence presented, Willem Smith, an engineer that appeared previously had to be re-called to answer to some of the questions emanating from the evidence as presented. In an attempt to establish a clear understanding of the process that was followed in carrying out some of the jobs on site, presiding officer Phumi Mapaha had to call Sabelo Gasa of Gasa Subcontracting to give his side of the story as worker that was working on that site.

However, after learning that Gasa had not been on site from the start of the project, his testimony could not satisfy the enquiry on what transpired before the collapse.

Mapaha is assisted by James Hannie and are both from the Department of Labour.

Source: South African Department of Labour

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