Natalie Malgas15 May 2024 | 4:13

Zim construction workers arrive in George to support family of man trapped in building collapse

Zimbabwean national Peter Chitsika is among 19 of the 81 workers still trapped in the building, after it collapsed in George last week.

Zim construction workers arrive in George to support family of man trapped in building collapse

Balloons and flowers at Erf 15098, Victoria Street in George where a moment of silence was observed for those who perished in the building collapse, on 13 May 2024. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

GEORGE - A group of Zimbabwean construction workers have arrived in George from Mossel Bay to support the family of a countryman trapped in the building that collapsed in the area last week.

Peter Chitsika was among 81 people on site when the five-storey apartment block crashed nine days ago. He's one of 19 people still unaccounted for.


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Thirty-three construction workers - 27 men and six women - have since died in the disaster

Cheap foreign labour and a meagre wage - that’s what Maxwell Goshito said his life was worth to construction employers in South Africa.

“There’s a lot of fear - a lot of fear, yes.”
He’s among several Zimbabwean construction workers who’ve travelled to the site of the George construction tragedy for news of a young countryman.
“It’s painful. We also work in this sector. It could happen to you. I’m feeling bad for the guys, especially the family. On Monday, I’m sure he left and said to his family, ‘I’ll see you later’, but he didn’t make it.”
Dressed in their paint-stained overalls and workman’s boots, the men are forfeiting a day’s earnings for this trip, but it’s not an option to ditch their jobs.
“I have no choice. I have to look after my family. People are suffering back home in Zimbabwe. So, when we are here, we are trying our best. We are pushing.”
Twenty-six-year-old Chitsika was in the same boat, and now his family is facing the reality that he won’t return home.