Construction workers relive Alberton collapse

One of the survivors says while he is grateful that he is alive, he’s saddened by the loss of his colleagues.

Rescue workers on the scene of the Meyersdal Eco Estate collapse on 19 August 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Surviving construction workers who were on the site of a fatal house collapse in Meyersdal yesterday have described how they felt completely helpless after watching their colleagues die.

Seven people were killed and 11 others injured when the building caved in at the Meyersdal Eco Estate yesterday.

Japhta Phiri is among 11 men who survived the collapse.

He says while he is grateful that he escaped with his life, he is saddened by the loss of his colleagues.

"It was so sad to see my friends dying in that way. I could see them lying there but there was nothing I could do."

He says he's mourning with the families who have lost their loved ones.

Emergency services say they believe all workers have been accounted for but say they'll continue searching until they are satisfied that no one else is still trapped under the rubble.

A preliminary investigation by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality's Planning Department has found the double storey house was being built illegally.

Earlier, the municipality warned that the owner of the house and the two construction companies contracted to renovate it, have a number of questions to answer.

The Department of Labour has also warned of harsh consequences if negligence is found to have played a part in the deadly collapse.

Video: Alberton building collapse.