Inspectors blamed for faulty buildings

Rubble left after the collapse of a building in early 2013 in Dar es Salaam.

Rubble left after the collapse of a building in early 2013 in Dar es Salaam.

Almost 50 per cent of Dar es Salaam residents have indicted government building inspectors as being responsible for the collapse of a high-rise apartment under construction on Indira Gandhi Street in downtown early this year.

More so, almost 60 per cent are not confident that similar accidents will be prevented in the future.

According to  a ‘Listening to Dar report number 24’, some 47 per cent say the government building inspectors were responsible while 57 per cent say they are not confident such would be prevented in future.

The summary report uses data collected by Listening to Dar es Salaam.

On March 29th of this year, a high-rise apartment under construction on Indira Gandhi Street in downtown Dar collapsed, killing 36 people and wounding many more.

The disaster was the latest in a series of fatal building collapses that has struck the city in the past few years.

The report explores what citizens think and know about the accident, who they are blaming and whether they trust that tragedies like this can be prevented in the future.

The report is based on interviews with 333 respondents in all three districts of the city.

According to the report, nine in ten respondents have heard of the accident (87%). What is more striking is the finding that out of those who had heard about the accident, almost two in ten reported to know someone who was either injured (11%) or killed (7%) in the incident.

It has to be noted that, considering the total number of victims, this figure seems disproportionately high and is probably best explained by respondents’ also recounting stories of victims that they had heard of, rather than of only those they knew personally.

Those who said they were acquainted with a victim were also asked if they know whether any sort of compensation had been paid to victims or their families.

In most cases respondents did not know whether any payments had been made (57%), while the rest reported that there had been no compensation. None of the interviewees knew of a case where compensation had been paid.

In the aftermath of the disaster, public discussion was dominated by questions about who should be held accountable.

In order to explore the perception of Dar es Salaam citizens, respondents were asked who they thought was mainly responsible for the accident.
Opinions on the question of responsibility are divided. The largest share of responsibility (46%) is placed on the government building inspectors who are tasked with ensuring that building regulation tions are not violated.

Another substantial proportion of respondents (32%) think that it is mainly the construction company that is to blame for the fatal accident. While divided on the question of personal responsibility, three in four respondents (78%) agreed that corruption is the root cause of disasters like these.

Despite the rapid indictment of eleven suspects in connection with the accident, the survey also found that citizens show little trust in the legal system tasked with holding accountable and punishing those that are to blame for the disaster.


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