M1 Structural Bridge Collapse Inquiry Postponed to Next Year

Pretoria — The Presiding Officer in the Inquiry into the M1/Grayston Drive pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse has on Monday dismissed the sitting of the commission until next year.

This follows a short notice request for additional information from an expert witness representing Form-Scaff, who was supposed to testify today but could not make to the inquiry.

The inquiry's Presiding Officer Lennie Samuel said Gary Farrow, a mechanical engineer from Australia, was in Melbourne and unable to come to South Africa because Murray & Roberts had requested additional information from Form-Scaff expert witness, which he could not deliver on time before the sitting.

A week ago Murray & Roberts had sent a list of 72 questions to Farrow, and the inquiry felt that it was a short time for him to respond to the questions, and be ready on time to appear before the inquiry.

"We did not want to prejudice the Form-Scaff witness by subjecting him to intense interrogation without enough time to prepare," Samuel said.

The inquiry was expected to sit for seven consecutive working days until 6 September 2016.

Samuel said the commission was now in a predicament after the seven lost days.

"Next year we will be faced with added pressure because of time. I appeal to all affected parties to commit to time schedules when requested to submit statements and reports, so as to mitigate further delays," he said.

The M1/Grayston Drive Pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse Inquiry was announced by the Department of Labour in October 2015, and started its work in February 2016 with an understanding that the Inquiry was to last six months.

However, following delays caused by late submission of statements/reports, the non-availability of legal representatives it is now expected to be completed next year.

The next sitting of the inquiry is now scheduled for 27-31 March 2017.

The inquiry was set-up to investigate the collapse of the temporary scaffolding structure on the M1/Grayston Drive that led to the death of two people and injury to 19 others. The Section 32 investigation is being held in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.

Some of the interested stakeholders in the inquiry include Murray & Roberts, the City of Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Roads Agency, Form-Scaff, workers, and unions.

SOURCE: http://www.sanews.gov.za/