It could take six months to find out why a bridge collapsed over a busy South African highway killing two people and injuring 19, according to the Department of Labour. The inquiry will also ask why traffic was allowed under the bridge before it was finished.
The pedestrian bridge, over the M1 in Johannesburg, fell on October 14. Of the injured, three are critical, five stable.
“At the time of collapse it transpired that the installation of the Kwik-Stage design was not yet completed, however, traffic was already traversing under the structure,” Chief Inspector Tibor Szana, of the Department of Labour, told a briefing in Pretoria
“We have already started our preparations around the formal inquiry – we are looking at anything around six months at this stage.”
Szana reminded people that as there were many parties involved, there was much evidence to collect and admitted that prosecution could ensue.
“At this stage of the game we are not pointing a finger at anyone,” Szana said.
“Negligence is what is proved by court and we don’t make determinations around that – we are basically going in totally neutral.”
The inquiry will look at: the responsibility of the client under construction regulations; the principal constructor; the agent on behalf of the client; suppliers and design.
Materials and design were from Waco International’s subsidiary, Form-Scaff and construction by JSE-listed, Murray & Roberts, the Department of Labour confirmed.
The collapse happened in the middle of the City of Johannesburg’s Eco Mobility campaign that kept traffic out of Sandton nearby. The authorities suspended road closures to help people skirt the rescue efforts on the M1.