South Africa 27.9.2017 07:12 pm

Grayston Bridge inquiry postponed to 2018

Paramedics and firemen work to extricate a passenger of a taxi after a scaffolding bridge collapsed on the M1 next to the Grayston Ave offramp in Sandton, 14 October 2015. Two people died and 23 people were injured when the scaffolding fell on the busy highway. Pic Neil McCartney

Paramedics and firemen work to extricate a passenger of a taxi after a scaffolding bridge collapsed on the M1 next to the Grayston Ave offramp in Sandton, 14 October 2015. Two people died and 23 people were injured when the scaffolding fell on the busy highway. Pic Neil McCartney

Department of labour says a witness took the commission by surprise when he produced a report that neither the commissioner nor the principal constructor has seen.

The commission of inquiry into the Grayston Drive/M1 pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse was postponed to 2018, with the possibility of 20 more witnesses being called.

This follows a two-day sitting at the Department of Labour offices in Pretoria.

The Section 32 inquiry was set-up by the Department of Labour following the 2015 collapse of the temporary bridge on the Grayston Drive /M1, which led to the deaths of two people and the injuring of 19 others.

The hearing was appointed by the Department in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act to investigate instances of negligence and non-compliance to legislation.

Commissioner Lennie Samuel decided to postpone the matter after hearing new evidence from Form Scarf expert witness Garry Farrow.

“The expert witness 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 department said in a statement Wednesday.

“The commissioner decided along with all legal representatives of the stakeholders that in the interest of completing the hearing without undue delay, that 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.”

Samuel said that if the need to recall the expert witness came up, he would not hesitate to do so, along with about 20 other witnesses.

“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 department added.

 

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