Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Sunday expressed concern at delays in the inquiry into the collapse of the Grayston Bridge in Johannesburg two years ago.
The bridge on the M1 highway and the Grayston interchange collapsed on October 14, killing two people and injuring 19. An inquiry into the cause of the collapse was set up by the labour department. Murray and Roberts Infrastructure is the principal contractor appointed by the Johannesburg Development Agency to build the bridge.
The Gauteng government said in a statement on Sunday the first sitting of the inquiry took place on July 7, 2016. However, the progress of the inquiry had been slow, causing consternation to those affected and public concern regarding accountability. The inquiry had been postponed several times.
“On Thursday, 5 October, the officials of the Johannesburg Roads Agency briefed me and the executive mayor about yet another postponement of the inquiry to July 2018. I expressed my complete dissatisfaction with this delay which is at the expense of the victims and affected families,” Makhura said in the statement.
It was completely unacceptable that two years after the incident, which resulted in deaths and injuries, there were still no answers and accountability on what happened.
Affected families had also complained bitterly about the delay. On Thursday October 5, Makhura visited Irvin Katangane, 23, and Bryce Carlinsky, 21, two of the survivors of the collapse.
It was clear from the visits that the collapse had greatly affected them and disrupted their lives irreversibly. Both Katangane and Carlinsky were severely injured. The two men worked as call centre agents at the time of the incident.
Carlinsky was off work for nine months due to his injuries, while Katangane attempted to return to work after three months, but quit as he could not cope with the work. Carlinsky could only work for four hours a day at the call centre and this had affected his earnings.
“What is even more disheartening is that these are young lives that have been disrupted at their prime”, Makhura said.
They both informed him that Murray and Roberts had paid for their initial medical expenses but this had since stopped. They still needed medical care and counselling. The Gauteng government would assist the families with counselling and access to medical care in public health and social development facilities.