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7 Zimbabweans died in SA building collapse

by Staff reporter
20 May 2024 at 07:52hrs | Views
Seven Zimbabweans were among the 33 victims who perished in a building collapse in George, Western Cape, South Africa. This tragic incident underscores the risks many Zimbabweans face when they migrate to South Africa in search of better opportunities, fleeing economic hardships and limited job prospects at home, which have persisted for the past two decades.

This disaster follows another recent tragedy where 15 Zimbabweans died in a bus accident in Cape Town, highlighting the dangers faced by the approximately three million Zimbabweans residing in South Africa.

According to a statement issued last Friday by the Garden Route District Joint Operations Command and George Municipality, 62 people were rescued from the collapse and have since recovered. The statement detailed the nationalities of the deceased: 15 South Africans, 19 Mozambicans, seven Zimbabweans, 13 Malawians, five Basotho, and one person with permanent residency.

"Search and rescue efforts are now complete. The site has been classified as a crime scene and officially handed over to the South African Police Service for a formal investigation, which will then be passed on to the Department of Labour and Employment," the statement read.

The statement attributed the success of the rescue operations to the critical actions taken within the first 48 hours, during which rescuers worked with precision to safely remove victims. Coordination was managed from both an on-site Joint Operations Centre and a Multi-Agency Command Centre at the Garden Route District Municipality.

The Multi-Agency Command Centre could only account for those recovered during the operations. The statement explained that initial estimates of the number of people on site during the incident, based on contractor information and witness statements, were approximately 81. However, as rescue efforts concluded, only 62 individuals were officially accounted for.

Authorities noted discrepancies between the estimated and confirmed numbers, citing reasons such as duplicated names on the contractor's list and some individuals not being present at work on the day of the incident. Additionally, CCTV footage showed some people leaving the site before first responders arrived and they have not reported their whereabouts since.

Repatriation efforts for the deceased are currently being managed by the consulates of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Lesotho.

Source - newsday