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Injaka inquiry stalled

THE INQUIRY into the Injaka Bridge collapse in South Africa has stalled after the bridge's designer, VKE Engineers, called for a two month postponement.

The demand came last week as the hearing reconvened after a 10 week break to consider expert reports into the accident (NCE 20 May).

Lawyers for VKE argued that the firm needed more time to consider contractor Concor Construction's expert report, which is understood to lay blame entirely on the designer. The presiding officer refused to grant the postponement so VKE has applied for permission from the South African High Court.

The move is understood to have left South African Department of Labour officials and Concor Construction frustrated. It is now more than a year since the incrementally launched bridge collapsed and killed 14 people, including the bridge designer, and injured 13 others (NCE 16 July 1998). An outcome and official report on the incident is still not in sight.

A source close to the inquiry condemned VKE's actions as playing for time. 'This postponement is not necessary and is very unfair on the families of those who were killed,' he said. A decision on whether the postponement will be granted is likely to be made on 10 August.

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