Rescue and recovery operation concluded

Authorities said the George building collapse rescue and recovery operation has concluded. 

Authorities have concluded the operation at the collapse site 

This follows an operation that lasted 260 hours, with personnel working on a 24-hour basis, with two shifts on rotation.

In a joint media statement released on Friday, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde declared that the disaster would be remembered, not only for the immense and tragic loss of life.

But also for the incredibly brave and selfless work carried out by over 1,000 rescue, support, and volunteer workers who have been involved since the incident occurred on 6 May.

People will remember the brave and selfless work of the rescue, support, and volunteer workers

“The rescue operation saw more than 6 000 tons of rubble being carefully removed while rescue workers searched for survivors. This has been an exceptionally difficult time for us all. 

“But through it all, our disaster management workers and volunteers persevered with the sole aim of saving the lives of as many people as possible,” Winde said.

During the rescue operation, authorities made several revisions to the number of people reported to be on site when the collapse happened.


Rescue personnel had to work under extremely difficult conditions. With the information provided to them at the time based on information received from the contractor on site, the police, and other emerging external sources. 

“I am very happy that we could revise the number of people on site down from 81 to 62, as it means fewer families are grieving today,” Winde said.

The devastating collapse in George claimed the lives of 33 workers, with 19 workers still unaccounted for. The George Municipality has confirmed the completion of the search and rescue efforts.

Authorities have completed the search and rescue efforts in George

As a result, the site is classified as a crime scene, and the police have officially handed it over for a formal investigation. Subsequently, the Department of Labour and Employment will conduct their formal investigation after receiving it from the police.

It said based on information the estimated number of workers on-site during the incident amounted to approximately 81. 

This includes information from the contractor on site, police, and other emerging external sources inluding witness statements.

“We are aware that as the incident unfolded, the numbers fluctuated. However, we can now officially confirm that with the completion of the efforts, we have accounted for only 62 individuals.” 

Authorities explains about the workers still unaccounted for  

Furthermore, it stated that the difference between the approximate number of people on site. And the officially confirmed number could be attributed to the following:

“We found that some of the names on the contractor’s list were duplicated. Police investigations confirmed that some of those on the contractor’s list were not at work on 6 May.” 

The municipality added that CCTV proved that some of those on the site left. This was before the first responders reached the site. And to date, they have never reported their whereabouts.

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