Stench hangs in the air a week after George building collapsed

A heavy stench coming from the site where 32 workers have been confirmed dead following the George building collapse in the Western Cape is hanging in the air.

The workers were employed as cleaners, tilers, painters, and general workers.

When Sunday World arrived on site on Tuesday, six excavators were hard at work combing through the rubble in an attempt to recover and retrieve the remaining bodies and possible survivors.


A heavy stench hung in the air. The trucks were also loading concrete and steel on tippers.

Members of the public, who had gathered at the site, stated that the stench was an indication that those trapped under the rubble were no longer alive.

“This is a sad situation for us and the families of those who are still trapped there. The smell of decomposed bodies is a sign that they have died in that rubble,” said George resident Mkhuthazi Jwarha.

32 workers confirmed dead

At the time of this report, the death toll stood at 32, while the search for 20 workers, who are still unaccounted for, was continuing. Twelve employees are in the hospital.

Despite the stench, it was business as usual for nearby enterprises.

A shop owner, who did not want to be named, said that he felt sorry for the families of the victims and hoped that they would get closure.


“We are with the families in our prayers, and we pray that they get comforted. We are still operating because our businesses were never affected,” said the shop owner.

The police are said to have stopped the residents of the neighbouring building, Millwood Apartments, from speaking to the media.

Sunday World was told that when the building collapsed on Monday last week, burying close to 85 people under the heap of concrete and bricks that fell from the five-story building, the premises housing George local municipality, which is close to the collapsed building, also shook, and that municipal officials and visitors came out of the building screaming and running for cover.

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