Up-to-date Safety News

Media release

Issued by Department of Labour

05 March 2015

Mall contractor Jay Singh admitted at inquiry that there were more drawings used in the project

Jay Singh, the Chief Executive of Gralio Precast the company behind the doomed Thongathi Mall, today admitted using more drawings other than those prepared for him by the project engineer, Dr. Andre Ballack.

Cross-examined by Presiding Officer, Phumudzo Maphaha, Singh testified that there were changes that had to be done in the project in June 2013, and that these changes were necessitated by traffic flow requirements.

Asked by Maphaha why one of the subcontractors working on drawings and designs had left the site after raising concerns on a beam, Singh said their work was already complete. Singh also denied knowledge and access to correspondent emails that were flying to and from among participating companies in the project.

Despite spending the whole of October 2013 in hospital,  Singh reiterated before the Commission that there was no need for him to have a substitute contractor overseeing the project.

He also emphasised that his appointment of Ronnie Pillay, a foreman at the time of the collapse was motivated by his experience in the construction industry.  Pillay's competence in heading the project came under spotlight.

He said he had come across with many formally qualified people who could not read drawings.

The Thongathi Mall Structural Collapse Commission of Inquiry was appointed following the collapse of the Mall in 2013 that led to the death of two workers and injury to 29. The Commission started gathering evidence on February 2014.

The Section 32 hearing, was instituted by the Department of Labour in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act - to gather evidence against parties whose negligence resulted in occupational injuries and death of workers.

The Inquiry continues tomorrow (5 March) with further cross-examination of Singh. The Thongathi Commission of Inquiry is held at the North Coast Town’s Municipality offices. The Inquiry starts daily at 9am. This week's session is expected to end on Friday.

Issued by the Department of Labour Communication Directorate:

For more information contact

Nhlanhla X. Khumalo

KZN Provincial Spokesman

031 366-2018 / 074 589 9682




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