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Government Probes Begin Into Fatal South African Mall Collapse

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AP photo
Slab collapse last November at a building site near Durban killed two workers and injured 29.
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A South African government probe set to begin in February into the deaths of two construction workers at a mall building site near Durban is expected to wrap up within six months.

The national labor department launched the investigation into the collapse, last November, of a concrete slab at the site of the 15,000-sq-meter, three-story Tongaat Mall, which is about 30 kilometers north of Durban.

The accident also injured 29 workers.

In addition, the Engineering Council of South Africa, a group set by statute to accredit and regulate engineering practice in the country, has launched a separate investigation into the collapse after local officials claimed the contractor, Durban-based Gralio Construction, had no approved building plans.

According to a local report, officials had sought a court order last October to stop construction at the site.

But a spokesman for the developer, Rectangle Property Investments of South Africa, claims commercial construction is often allowed to proceed “without approved plans.”

The government says there were 171 construction fatalities and 755 injuries in South Africa between 2007 and 2010.

Foreign and domestic contractors agreed to improved safety rules under a 2012 accord with the goverment.

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