The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) expresses its sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the bereaved as well as all those involved in the tragic incident at Hoerskool Driekhoek in Vanderbijlpark. Concrete elements of a pathway, which connected two buildings at the school, collapsed killing four children and injuring 25 more. 

The Bill of Rights in our Constitution gives everyone the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being. Legislation is in place to give effect to this right in so far as structures are concerned. National Building Regulations require a competent person to design the structural elements of buildings and to inspect their construction. Competent persons are also required by the Construction Regulations to annually inspect structures to ensure that they are safe for continued use. The owner of the structure is required by law to appoint competent persons to undertake the designs and inspections over the life of a structure.

At this stage it is too early to say what the specific causes of this failure were. A thorough investigation will reveal the immediate causes and the circumstances that preceded them.

SAICE supports an immediate full review of school buildings by Competent Structural Engineers in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act Construction Regulations Cl 11(2).

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