Disaster Enquiries

Why do disaster inquiries take years to finalise?

Following a two-day sitting of the Commission of inquiry into the Grayston Drive/M1  pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse, the commissioner, Lennie Samuel decided to postpone the inquiry until 2 July 2018. He has set aside July to September 2018 for completing the case. These were the only dates available where all legal representatives would be available

The sitting took place in September 2017 at the Department of Labourís office in Pretoria and heard testimony from Form Scarf expert witness, Garry Farrow. The expert witness however, took the Commission by surprise when he produced a report that neither the Commissioner nor Murray and Robert (the principal constructor) has had sight of.

The commissioner decided along with all legal representatives of the stakeholders that in the interest of completing the hearing without undue delay, further continuation with expert witnesses could make the hearing unmanageable. In his power as commissioner and with the evidence that he has so far was sufficient to continue without further cross examining expert witnesses and therefore accepted the proposals from the legal representatives.

Stakeholders of the inquiry include: the Johannesburg Municipality as the Client;  Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) as the Agent; Royal HaskoningDHV an Engineering company appointed by JDA as the engineering agent for the project; Murray &  Roberts (MR) Infrastructure - as the Principal Contractor  appointed by JDA; Form -Scaff - as the contractor appointed by (MR); the people/person injured in the incident; the Engineering Council of South Africa and NUM representing employees of Murray & Roberts affiliated to the union.

The Grayston Bridge in Sandton collapsed on 14 October 2015 an the inquiry started in October 2015. It appears that if the Grayston  Bridge inquiry, which started in October 2015 follow the same timeline used for the infamous Injaka Bridge collapse inquiry, which started in January 1999, then we can expect the Grayston Bridge inquiry to be completed in 2019 and the negligent parties brought to book in 2027!

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