Nxesi calls for patience as probe into building collapse continues

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Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has called for patience as investigations continue into the cause for the collapse of a multi-storey building in George, in the Western Cape, on Monday.

Nxesi was speaking during his visit to the site where he also called on the owners of the building and the developers to engage with families of workers involved in the disaster.

So far, eight people have died, and 44 workers are still unaccounted for, as rescue operations continue.

The Minister says the matter is not about the nationalities of workers involved, but rather about the protection of workers’ rights.

“When we’re dealing with a matter as sensitive as this, we can’t put a timeline, because you have to dig deep. But let’s allow for those investigations, we don’t know when the police are going to be able to hand over the site to us and we can’t even say this is the start [or] end date.”

“Also, we have been talking about this issue of foreign nationals, but at this stage it’s not about foreign nationals or the nationals, it is about human beings who have the rights, whose rights are supposed to be protected, regardless of their status, regardless of their nationality,” explains the Minister.

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Meanwhile, the Executive Mayor of George Municipality Leon van Wyk says the Department of Labour has subpoenaed the developer in charge of the collapsed multi-storey building the area.

Van Wyk says there had been challenges with contacting the developer.

“The Department of Labour has indicated that they have attempted to have discussions with the company- the developing company of this construction site here behind us, and they visited the address of the company to go and see them at their offices, but there’s no one at the offices.”

“I think what has happened despite attempts, they’ve had to issue a subpoena to get that company to contact the Department of Labour,” adds Van Wyk.

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