Grayston bridge collapse: Inquiry focuses on roles of construction companies

Murray & Roberts says that its the scaffolding that collapsed and not the permanent structure.

It was alleged a cement truck crashed into the scaffolding, causing the collapse. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Four months after a fatal bridge collapse near Grayston Drive, the Labour Department inquiry into the tragedy is scrutinising the roles and responsibilities of the companies involved in the project.

Two people died and 19 others were injured in October, when the scaffolding around the "under-construction" bridge caved in over the M1 highway.

Murray & Roberts has told the commission that it no part of the permanent structure or the bridge collapsed, but only the temporary structure that acted as a support.

WATCH: Full traffic report on Grayston bridge collapse.

During today's session, presiding officer Lennie Samuel insisted construction firm Murray & Roberts and, scaffolding supplier Form-Scaff, read their statements into the record to capture the dates, times and extent of their involvement in the Grayston project.

"All reports that have been presented to the commission this morning, and statements, is sub judice."

Form-Scaff representative Evan Rodulph says the company simply supplied the scaffolding to Murray & Roberts.

"Form-Scaff has no knowledge of the construction methodology that Murray & Roberts used in erecting the temporary works."

Murray & Roberts has told the inquiry that it was the scaffolding that collapsed and no part of the permanent structure caved in at any point.


Reports submitted to the inquiry have raised concerns about possible missing bolts in the scaffolding, and safety concerns.

The Johannesburg Development Agency's representative, Willem le Roux, says there are factual errors in the reports submitted to this inquiry.

He says witnesses need to clarify claims that bolts were missing from the scaffolding.

"Were they missing? How many were missing? What happened at the meeting where these things were discussed? These are factual issues and it is important that we get the factual issues first."

Form-Scaff says its surveyors issued warning signs in the days before the collapse.

Its representative, Evan Rudolph, says, "It appeared that the girder batteries were misaligned, concerns that the site was not ready to receive all the pre-assemblies as agreed."

Presiding officer Lennie Samuel has given the parties until the close of business on 31 March to hand over their final reports into the collapse.

Meanwhile, the department says it will not lift a prohibition notice placed on Murray & Roberts, restricting building at the scene of the fatal bridge collapse, until the cause is found.

Samuel says the department's immediate priority is to find out exactly what happened.

"We are having a meeting with Murray & Roberts tomorrow, on site, to discuss this issue. The department is not in a hurry to revoke that prohibition notice. We want to first identify what caused the collapse."