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2 workers buried alive in tunnel

By unknown | Mar 19, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

A lack of skills in the construction industry has been blamed for the death of two contract workers being buried alive at Modjadjiskloof yesterday.

The tragic incident took place at about 11am. Their bodies were retrieved about eight hours later.

The families of the victims - Asnath Maite Raphotle, 36, and Vincent Ramathoka, 34, accused the contractor and the Mopani municipality of being responsible for the deaths.

The two workers died when a wall of a sewerage trench in which they were working fell on them, killing them instantly.

They were contract workers employed by Timo Construction whoare connecting sewerage pipes to the tune of R3million in the Limpopo town.

Police spokesperson Mohale Ramatseba said an inquest docket had been opened, which would form part of the investigations into the deaths.

Melita Raphotle, the mother of one of the dead workers, said it was believed that some senior officials of the municipality were "awarding tenders to themselves" and were using unskilled contractors, which put workers' lives at risk.

Raphotle said a skilled contractor would have installed precautionary safeguards that would have prevented the wall from falling on her daughter.

"We cannot fold our arms when people enrich themselves at the expense of the lives of our children. We know them and we will do everything in our power to make sure that the public knows them," she said.

The other deceased's father, Cabert Ramathoka, said his son died because safety measures "had not been put in place".

"Had the contractor been at the scene when this happened, my son would still be alive."

A task team represented by the labour department, SAPS, and the municipality was formed yesterday to investigate the cause of the deaths.


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