Grayston bridge inquiry: Contract manager accepts responsibility for collapse of temporary structure

06 July 2018

The man who acted as the contract manager and engineer at the site of the Grayston Drive pedestrian and cyclist bridge project has “accepted responsibility for the collapse of the temporary works structure. Hein Pretorius was testifying on Wednesday before the Grayston bridge inquiry, set up by the Department of Labour, into the causes of the collapse.

However, he told the commission he was not in a position to know what had caused the collapse. He testified that he had been on leave the day of the October 2015 incident, in which two people died and 19 were injured. When asked about the appointment of a mentor to Oliver Aadnesgaard, a candidate engineer working on the construction site, Pretorius said he knew there needed to be one but was not aware who his mentor was.

According to him, Aadnesgaard met the requirements of “a competent person”.

Aadnesgaard, an employee of Murray & Roberts, declined to answer some of the questions put to him at the inquiry on Tuesday, saying he did not want to incriminate himself.  According to him, he did not know any person who designed and approved the drawings of the temporary structure.

Both Aadnesgaard and Pretorius said the drawings of the collapsed structure were supplied by FormScaff. Pretorius also told the inquiry that he had received health and safety reports on site on a regular basis. Presiding officer Phumi Maphaha then asked why they went ahead with drawings without loadings. Pretorius declined to answer, saying that he may incriminate himself.

According to him, his engagement with FormScaff mainly related to discussions on the ease of the erecting and dismantling of the temporary structure on the M1 bridge. Maphaha also asked Pretorius if he was aware of the loads that the structure could carry.

Again, he declined to answer. He also declined to answer a question about who was responsible for the inspections on the construction site.

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