Cleansing ceremony for the M1 scaffolding collapse accident

MEDIA RELEASE

13 November 2015

The City of Johannesburg today conducted a cleansing ceremony at the M1, following the tragic death of two people and the injury of 19 people on Wednesday 14th October 2015 when the scaffolding being erected to construct a walking and cycling bridge between Alexandra and Sandton and over the M1 collapsed.

The City has had consultations with the families of the affected and got their consent to conduct this ceremony.

It is heartening to know that of the 19 people, who were injured, one person is still in in hospital and one is at rehabilitation facility. All the injured continue to be supported with counselling and/or outpatient care.

The City would like once more to extend its appreciation and thanks to all the men and women who were part of the rescue operation on that fateful day including the Emergency Management Services, the doctors, nurses and other health care workers who received patients at the various hospitals, the JMPD, City officials and public transport operators who came forward and offered free services on the subsequent day.

In an effort to establish the cause of the accident, the City announced that it would conduct an independent investigation, in addition to the statutory Department of Labour investigation.

The City can confirm that the Department of Labour held a press briefing on 28th October where they announced that they will be conducting a formal inquiry into the cause of the accident. They indicated that this is a six month process. The City is co-operating with the Department of Labour and has briefed lawyers to represent it at the inquiry.

The Department of Transport in the City, through the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has also appointed structural engineers to do the Independent Investigation. They will be looking at causes of the accidents as well as remedial steps to be taken.

The City remains committed to constructing a bridge to give the thousands of people who travel between Alexandra, Marlboro, Wynberg and Sandton each day dignity they deserve.

The Johannesburg Development Agency has been given permission by the Department of Labour to proceed with construction of the dedicated pedestrian and cycling bridge at the Grayston off-ramp of the M1 Motor way provided certain steps have been taken and approvals given by them.

Before construction can proceed, the City saw it proper to arrange a cleansing ceremony of the site in partnership with the JMPD Chaplaincy and local religious leaders.

The JDA and Murray and Roberts still also have to request permission from the Department of Labour to remove the remnants of the collapsed temporary works offsite to a safe and secured storage place. The remnants could be used by investigators during the inquiry and investigations and thus it is paramount to keep them safe and secured.

The City will only allow full construction of the bridge to resume when firstly, both the JDA and the contractor have demonstrated that they have put in place all possible risk mitigation measures to avoid a reoccurrence of this tragic accident and secondly, after the Department of Labour has approved the design and construction methodology going forward.

In this period and going forward, the JDA has committed to conduct frequent Occupational Health and Safety inspections and will be ensuring that there is a full time specialist Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) practitioner on site to ensure as far as reasonably practicable that all OHS requirements are adhered to by the contractor.

The project completion will unfortunately be delayed with a targeted completion date is now being April 2017.

The City wants to urge those who are doing the investigations to work with speed, diligence and care so that the cause of the accident can be established, if required relevant parties are held to account and remedial steps are put in place to avert such accidents in future.

The City continues to wish those who were injured during this terrible accident, a successful recovery.

ENDS

Issued by:
City of Johannesburg

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