City of Tshwane to hold contractor responsible for the two drowned boys

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Only now has the City of Tshwane secured the trenches where the boys drowned

The City of Tshwane will be taking responsibility for the drowning of a boy in Hammanskraal Extension one and to that extend, is considering the contractor to be the negligent party in the matter.

The spokesperson of the Mayor, Mr Jordan Griffiths, said the City is taking the appropriate steps to hold the contractor to account for the boy who drowned and died as a result and another left critical in hospital.

The drowning happened on Monday 23 November 2020 a few days after three boys died in an unrelated incident also in Hammanskraal after playing in an unsecured trench.

Mr Griffiths said the contractor failed to ensure that the trenches were barricaded off, instead, the trenches were left open and filled with water during the recent rains and there were no safety barricades in place.

“This was deeply irresponsible and in violation of contracts that they have with the City of Tshwane.

“The City of Tshwane has immediately given instruction that the contractor must be held accountable for the safety failures at the site and the City will be engaged in legal action against the contractor.

“Depending on the outcome of the continued investigations this may also lead to the opening of criminal cases,” he said.

Asked if the councilors are not responsible for making sure that contractors adhere to the safety measures, Mr Griffiths said the Executive Mayor will also be calling upon the ward councilor, community liaison officer and site managers to interrogate their roles and responsibilities in the matter.

“As the direct contact between the community and the contractor, these individuals have a key role to play in ensuring that the site is secured,” he said.

Mr Griffiths said the contractors were appointed on 22 June 2018 by Nyeleti Consulting as Employer Agent on behalf of the City for a housing project.

He confirmed that the contractor has also appointed a Health and Safety (OHS) person for the project and the contractor, Khato Civils, was appointed to make sure that the construction site is secured.

Mr Griffiths said the duty of the safety officer was to develop, implement and improve the health and safety plans. The OHS is also responsible for making sure that there is compliance with relevant health and safety legislation, ensuring that the contractor is compliant and adheres to OHS guideline, ensure that there are safety messages in each Incident action plan, Investigate accidents that have occurred on-site within the incident areas and are responsible for conducting toolbox meetings.

“The OHS is also responsible for reviewing and approving all subcontractors’ safety plans, enforcing safety guidelines and verify that all tools and equipment are adequate and safe for use on-site.

“The OHS is also expected to conduct job hard analysis, and to also receive reports from the contractor and respond to orders issued by the Department of Labour,” said Mr Griffiths.