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02 March 2015

The design engineer of the collapsed Tongaat Mall never raised any concerns during its construction, the commission of inquiry investigating the collapse heard on Monday

“I was under the impression that everything was in order,” controversial Durban businessman Jay Singh told the commission.

Singh owns Gralio Precast (Pty) Ltd, the company that was building the mall when a large section collapsed on November 19, 2013, killing two people and injuring 29.

Singh denied that engineer Andre Ballack had asked him for test cube results to determine the strength of the concrete being used to build the mall.

Ballack testified during his cross-examination last year that Singh failed on several occasions to furnish him with test cube results to determine the strength of the concrete.

The inquiry has previously heard that concrete at several locations on the ill-fated mall did not meet the required strength and several steel bars were missing.

Singh said he had been in the construction business since he was 14 years old, when he worked with his father.

He said 75 percent of his work since he had his own business from 1986 had been government contracts.

This included building 70 schools and 28,000 houses.

He had trusted his foreman Ronnie Pillay who had been in charge of the site and there had been 380 calls between Pillay and Ballack.

Singh said he had raised some concerns with Ballack regarding the building, but Ballack had reassured him that all was in order.

He said he had parked his van and had a braai with contractors on the section of the mall that collapsed.

“I wouldn’t park my van there if I knew I had done something wrong.”

He said that on one occasion he had even parked there with his small son.

“We were doing everything to the engineer’s design,” said Singh.

This article first appeared in The Citizen Newspaper

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