The Department of Labour Chief Inspector, Tibor Szana today (18 November) officially announced the appointment of Mr Lennie Samuel as the Presiding Inspector to head the Section 32 Inquiry into the collapse of the temporary walkway bridge between Sandton and Alexandra on the M1 freeway.
Samuel has 30 years of service with the department. He was a forensic investigator and co-commissioner for the Tongaat Mall Structural Collapse Inquiry.
The latest announcement follows a media briefing held by the Department of Labour on October 28 – in which it released a preliminary report on the state of the collapsed bridge – and announced it will set up a section 32 inquiry in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.
In terms of the mandate from the Chief Inspector, Samuel will preside over the formal inquiry to determine if there was any contravention of the OHS Act and any of its Regulations which led to the uncontrolled collapse of the aforesaid structure or any part thereof, consequently resulting in the untimely deaths and injuries of the people.
The collapse of the temporary bridge in the Grayston Drive Pedestrian and cyclist structure led to the deaths of two people and injury to 19 others.
Szana wished to reiterates that at this stage, no party stands accused of any wrong doing leading to the untimely collapse of the structure.
The Grayston Drive Pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse inquiry will be held in public. The Inquiry is expected to last at least six months. Post the Inquiry the Presiding Inspector (Samuel) will be expected to compile a written report which will be forwarded to the Office of the Department of Labour Chief Inspector, who will subsequently hand it over to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.
Samuel said a crucial briefing session will be held on 8 December 2015 at the Tshwane Municipal Offices in Pretoria (Tshwane) to unveil the terms of reference of the Inquiry. The briefing session will also include unveiling of a media protocol on the media coverage of the Inquiry.
He said on Tuesday (17 November) there was a meeting with 26 role players ranging from Murray & Roberts, legal representatives, the City of Johannesburg, The Johannesburg Roads Agency, engineers, Foamscaff, and all interested players in the matter. He said the meeting came following a request by Murray & Roberts to seek permission to remove the temporary collapsed structure on the site of the accident.
“The request to remove the collapsed structure was not granted until all stakeholders have sufficiently documented the site of the accident. No stakeholder should feel prejudiced by the removal,” Samuel said. He said the meeting agreed Murray & Roberts should first prepare a protocol document highlighting procedures that would be followed, the stages of removal, safety specifications, safety plans and related matters.
He also said Murray and Roberts has also been requested to circulate all protocol documents by November 20, and once all these have been accepted by all parties the Department of Labour would then consider the request by Murray and Roberts to remove the collapsed structures. Samuel cautioned that the removed structure, while it would be kept with Murray & Roberts, it would still be under the control of the Department of Labour.
“While all these processes are unfolding, the Department of Labour is still continuing gathering statements and evidence,” Samuel said.
Further details regarding the Inquiry will be communicated in the next few days.
Acting Departmental Spokesman
Cell: 082 808 2168
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS