Authorities tried to stop work on collapsed South African shopping mall

20 November 2013

Local authorities had tried to stop construction of the shopping mall in South Africa that collapsed this week killing one and injuring dozens more, say reports.

Rescue teams called off the search for survivors at the building site today, believing there are no more trapped construction workers beneath the half-built mall.

The three-storey building in Tongaat, 30km north of Durban, collapsed on Tuesday. The cause of the collapse remains unclear.

District mayor James Nxumalo told Reuters that local authorities had obtained a series of court injunctions to halt construction, the latest on November 14.

Rescuers search for survivors at the construction site of the Tongaat Mall in Durban, South Africa. (Tebogo Letsie/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Reuters reported that the owner of the site has been identified as a South African businessman who is well-known in Durban, the second-largest city in South Africa.

Initial reports suggested as many as 50 workers might have been trapped under the rubble but rescue officials, working through the night with sniffer dogs, recovered only one body and discovered no survivors.

A police spokesperson said that the operation has been stopped and handed over to the Department of Labour.

Reuters commented that if safety regulations are found to have been flouted, the accident could damage the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as it moves toward an election next year because of widespread perceptions of incompetence and corruption in local government.

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