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SA’s president sends condolences after building collapse leaves 5 dead, 22 injured, dozens trapped

CYRIL Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, has send condolences to friends and family after five workers died, 22 were injured and 40 remained trapped after a multi-storey building under construction collapsed in George in the Western Cape.

In a statement, Ramaphosa’s office said: “The President’s thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones as well as the families of close to 50 people who are trapped in the rubble. President Ramaphosa wishes rescue teams the best as they go about their operations and says investigations into the cause of the incident must aim to bring closure to the community and prevent a repeat of this disaster.”

Those rescued from the site had been sent to hospitals across the Western Cape province, the municipality of George, a coastal city east of Cape Town, said in a statement. “The collapse occurred just after 2 pm (1200 GMT) today, 6 May with a construction crew of approximately 70 on site,” the statement said.

Theresa Jeyi, a local councillor, told reporters at the scene: “I saw one guy was working and then ‘boom’ and I saw the whole building collapsed… I’m also traumatised. It is very sad.”

The provincial government said it was monitoring the situation.

“At the moment, officials are focused on saving lives. This is our top priority at this stage,” said Alan Winde, Western Cape premier.

Rescue workers on site were trying to recover where they heard calls from people, George Mayor Leon van Wyk told SABC, while rescue equipment was on its way.

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“This is going to be a really lengthy exercise and probably going to go right through the night,” he said.