Jat-Constroi Denies Responsibility for Scaffolding Deaths

Maputo — The company JAT-Constroi, which owns the building in downtown Maputo where five construction workers died in a scaffolding collapse in July, has strongly denied any responsibility for the tragedy.

The report from the commission of inquiry set up by the government, and released alst week, cast blame on all the companies involved - the main contractor, the Portuguese company Britalar, the sub-contractor Cope, and JAT-Constroi.

Interviewed on Tuesday by the independent television station STV, a JAT-Constroi representative and civil engineer, Chande Faydherbe, said that assembling the scaffolding was the responsibility of Britalar, and of the companies that it hired. Jat-Constroi, as owner of the building, had nothing to do with erecting the scaffolding.

Faydherbe said he only knew about the report from the press - the Commission of Inquiry, he accused, had not bothered to send a copy to JAT-Constroi, and the company had received no other notification from the government. He said that JAT-Constroi had cooperated in the investigation, answering the questions raised by the Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission found that both Britalar and Cope were operating illegally, in that their construction permits had expired. The report did not point to a single cause of the accident but said there had been a series of anomalies and failures to abide by building regulations, which constituted negligence by the companies involved.

The report noted defective management of construction waste, and said that the erection of the scaffolding did not respect either the recommendations of the manufacturer or the Mozambican legislation in force.

Britalar had presented a plan for safety and health - but had then failed to implement it. There were no plans to guarantee the stability of the scaffolding, and the use of protective equipment was also defective.

Faydherbe pledged that, regardless of the Commission's report, JAT-Constroi will continue to support the families of the workers who died in the accident. The tragedy orphaned two children, and JAT-Constroi has pledged to take responsibility for their primary and secondary education.

The company is providing the bereaved families with foodstuffs, and has also offered them support from professional psychologists.

SOURCE: AIM http://www.poptel.org.uk/mozambique-news/