George building survivor Tapiwa Shava of Zimbabwe says he earned just R100 a day, other undocumented migrants earned R85 a day

The collapsed construction site in George, meant to house luxurious R2-million apartments, has exposed a grim reality of worker exploitation.

While developers Neo Trend Group and Liatel Developments marketed upscale two-bedroom units, laborers on the site allegedly received wages far below the legal minimum.

Workers who escaped the disaster revealed to Sunday World that some earned a paltry R85 to R150 per day, despite the new national minimum wage of R27.58 per hour. 

Many laborers were allegedly undocumented immigrants from neighbouring countries, making them vulnerable to exploitation.

Tapiwa Shava, a Zimbabwean tiler, stated, “I knew that money was little, but I had no choice but to take it. My family situation forced me to take the job…people like us with no legal papers we take everything on the table so that we can survive with our families.”

Another worker, Mohale Sekonyela from Lesotho, shared,  “I was earning R150 a day and I felt that it was not enough but I had no choice.”

He chose the construction job over the dangerous life of an illegal miner, highlighting the limited options for undocumented immigrants.

Tragically, not everyone was as fortunate as Shava and Sekonyela.

Wakisa Mruwari lost his wife, Mercy Mtambo, in the collapse. She was employed as a secretary and cleaner, earning a meager R150 per day to support their family.

Bassima Manjate, a Mozambican national, revealed that working conditions at Neo Victoria were hazardous, adding another layer to the tragedy.

The collapse has exposed the dark underbelly of the construction boom, revealing a stark contrast between the promise of luxury living and the harsh realities faced by those who built it.

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