'The truth will come out': Ramaphosa on probe into deadly building collapse in George

President Cyril Ramaphosa greets members of the rescue and recovery team in George on Thursday May 16 2024.
President Cyril Ramaphosa greets members of the rescue and recovery team in George on Thursday May 16 2024.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday met families and relatives of workers killed or missing in the George building collapse disaster and gave an assurance that the truth about the collapse would emerge during the investigation.

Ramaphosa described the incident, which has so far claimed 33 lives, as a catastrophe.

Speaking to relatives, he said all aspects of the disaster would be examined to see who should be held responsible. He appealed for patience during the investigation: “It will take time for all aspects of this disaster to be tied together properly.

“I plead for patience. I know all of you would like immediate solutions and answers to your questions.”

He said the main reason for his visit was to show solidarity with the those affected. “It is sad to see all of you gathered here. I am filled with sadness but at the same time I give you the assurance that we are going to handle this as well as we should. I came here to make sure it happens.

“We want to be the balm, the ointment [on] the wound you are feeling and going through.”

Ramaphosa said there would, in time, be compensation for victims and their families. He also commended the many organisations, government and civil society, involved in the rescue effort as well as “hundreds” of community members who lent a helping hand.

He said representatives from the governments of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Lesotho had been on site to assist relatives of the affected workers.

He had also been impressed with recent disaster management efforts related to the horror bus crash in Limpopo that claimed 45 lives. “I became more than convinced our government is able to deal with enormous disasters.

“Coming here I have proven it once again, the capability of our government entities is second to none. They have shown me again they are able to deal with calamities and disasters with dedication and compassion, of great care and also great love.

“Investigations are under way and they are going to cover every aspect that has given rise to this disaster. Where there has to be accountability, it will be there.

“It will take some time but I can assure you the seriousness with which this matter is being given attention. The truth will come out.”



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