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Families wait to hear why the Grayston Drive bridge collapsed

Ememrgency personnel at the accident scene after the collapse of a temporary pedestrian bridge next to Grayston Drive onto the M1 highway.
Ememrgency personnel at the accident scene after the collapse of a temporary pedestrian bridge next to Grayston Drive onto the M1 highway.
Image: Gallo Images

The Grayston Drive pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse inquiry set up by the Department of Labour is scheduled to resume on Monday with testimony from Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA). 

Two people died when the bridge collapsed onto two vehicles on October 14‚ 2015. A further 19 people were injured.

The victims were KwaZulu-Natal businessman Adrian Doodnath‚ 27‚ who was travelling with his wife‚ his parents and a cousin when he was killed as the scaffolding collapsed on their Fortuner. He was laid to rest in a gold-plated coffin‚ and his funeral procession included two Chrysler 300C limos.

Taxi driver Siyabonga Myeni‚ originally from Kwanongoma in KZN‚ died when a beam pierced his chest. The maskandi music fan was survived by five children‚ his parents and three siblings. His family said "he lived for his children".

The passengers he was transporting from Sunninghill to the Johannesburg CBD were injured.

The latest sitting of the inquiry - which is meant to investigate what went wrong and who is responsible for the bridge collapse - will continue until Thursday July 5.

The department said in a statement that a total of 13 sessions are expected to be held between July and September this year under a new presiding officer.

Phumudzo Maphaha takes over from Lennie Samuel‚ who has taken ill.

Maphaha‚ a qualified civil engineer‚ previously presided over the Tongaat Mall Structural Collapse Inquiry and the Meyersdal Structural Collapse Incident Inquiry.

He is executive manager of construction‚ explosives and major hazard installation in the national Department of Labour‚ regarded as a senior specialist in construction health and safety.

The Grayston inquiry had its first sitting in February 2016. The inquiry last held its sitting in September 2017.

Previously‚ Murray & Roberts‚ the main contractor whose responsibility was to erect the pedestrian bridge‚ argued through its expert witness - Prof Roelf Mostert‚ head of the University of Pretoria’s Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering Department - that the quality of some of the couplers used to hold the scaffolding structure together had not been up to standard. A coupler is used to connect two tubes by clamping them together so they do not slip.

However‚ legal counsel for Form-Scaff‚ the company that supplied the scaffolding to erect the bridge‚ countered this by accusing Murray & Roberts of poor workmanship. Citing findings from an investigative report compiled by AMOG‚ an Australian consultancy that specialises in structural collapses‚ Form-Scaff said that evidence suggested the couplers had not been tightened adequately.

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