roof of mall falls
Last minute Christmas shopping was disrupted when the roof of a shopping centre near Durban caved in yesterday.
Businesses at the Isipingo Junction Centre, including Shoprite, banks and medical centres, were forced to close down and workers were sent home early.
The shops had just been opened before 9am when the incident happened.
An eyewitness, taxi driver Sizwe Ndlovu, said though there were people walking on the side which collapsed, no one was injured.
A security guard who did not want to be named said workers and employees were evacuated from the building and all shops were closed immediately.
When Sowetan arrived, firefighters and Durban Metro building inspectors were already at the scene.
The workers were still waiting outside even though they had been told to return to work the next day.
Shoprite customers who were to buy groceries using stamps they bought throughout the year said they had been inconvenienced and were forced to travel about 20km to Durban CBD to do their shopping.
Hawukile Mahlangu said she had to take double transport to get to town, and that is something she did not budget for.
eThekwini fire department divisional commander Tony Cam said no one was around where the roof caved in.
Police spokesman Daniela Veldhuizen confirmed that there were no injuries and that the portion of the collapsed roof had landed on top of a vacant shop.
Cam said the building inspectors had not finished with their investigation and the cause of the accident had not yet been established.
It is at this stage not clear when business would be back to normal.
The building is owned by Broll Properties.
The company bought the building five years ago.
Property manager Gerald Davey said they suspect strong winds that blew the previous night contributed to the mishap.
"We have had strange weather lately in Durban. Our insurance assessors and engineers are on site; we will await their reports before we can take any steps," he said.