The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strongly condemns the deaths of two workers and the trapping of up to 50 more under rubble when a building collapsed in Tongaat, North of Durban in Kwazulu Natal Province.
NUM says it is gravely concerned about the accidents in the Construction industry and the lack of intervention from the government authorities like the Inspectorate from the Department of Labour. NUM adds that it has always emphasized the need of the Department of Labour to reinforce its health and safety inspectorate in the construction and energy sectors.
NUM claims construction workers are of the belief that there is collaboration between the inspectors and the employers to hide the occurrence of accidents in the industry and what happened in Thongathi is just a tip of the iceberg.
NUM demands a transparent investigation to this accident and proper corrective action taken against the employer adding that the employer must answer to all allegations that they proceeded to build without approved plans, they must also answer as to why they defied the court order as alleged by the eThekwini Municipality. It is also alleged that majority employees are foreign workers who are not registered with the Department of Labour and therefore makes it difficult to get an accurate count of the casualties. NUM urges the investigation department to look at this allegation and at what extent this is happening in the construction industry.
NUM has further demanded that the directors of the company be arrested immediately if the allegation of defying the court order is proven and they must be responsible for all the cost emanating from this accident.