ECSA says disciplinary action could follow bridge-collapse probe

16 October 2015

The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) reported on Thursday that it would decide whether to take disciplinary action against any ECSA-registered person involved in construction of the collapsed pedestrian bridge over Johannesburg’s M1 motorway after the conclusion of its investigation into the deadly collapse.

A bridge-support structure failed on October 14, resulting in the death of three people and the injury of 22 others.

ECSA has a statutory responsibility, in terms of the Engineering Profession Act, to investigate any engineering-profession-related matter where public health and safety have been compromised and violated.

The council said in a statement that a team of experts had been appointed to conduct an inspection and preliminary investigation to establish whether the collapse was “due to an act of negligence or malpractice by an ECSA-registered person and also ascertaining if such an act was in contravention of the ECSA Code of Conduct”.

“If after an investigation, any ECSA-registered person is found to have breached the ECSA Code of Conduct, ECSA will take disciplinary actions against the guilty party,” the council said.

Investigations had also been initiated by the Department of Labour, the City of Johannesburg and the South African Police Service.

A Department of Labour occupational health and safety specialist was preparing a preliminary report which would be used by the Chief Inspector to determine if a formal inquiry was necessary and to establish if there had been contraventions by the client (the Gauteng provincial government) and/or M&R in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Construction group Murray & Roberts (M&R), which is responsible for the project, confirmed that it too had launched a formal investigation into the possible causes of collapse.
But it stressed that the causes had not yet been determined, despite ongoing speculation.

The JSE-listed company said the various investigations would include analysis and research conducted by technical, engineering, legal and forensic specialists.

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