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​​​​The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) has suspended the upgrading of Merafe Railway Station following the death of a 14-year-old boy near the construction site in Soweto this week.

The JDA is currently implementing public environment upgrades at the railway station on behalf of the City of Johannesburg's Department of Transport. The project commenced in May 2018, with completion anticipated for October 2019.

It learnt with sadness of the passing of the teenager whose body was found on Sunday, June 2 2019, in one of the trenches of the construction site at Merafe train station.

According to the site agents' incident report, it is alleged that three youngsters were swimming in the trench that had filled with groundwater and one of them unfortunately slipped and fell to his death. It is suspected that some of the safety measures that were in place to prevent access may have been stolen, which left the trench unsecured.

The JDA, as required by law, has shut down operations at the construction site and the incident has been reported to the Department of Labour for investigations. A case has also been lodged with the SAPS.

Member of Mayoral Committee for Transport, Cllr Nonhlanhla Makhuba, said: “The safety of the public is always at the forefront of our planning when implementing projects of this nature. As the City, we are deeply saddened by what happened. We will investigate the cause of this incident from an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) point of view at this particular site."

The main objective of this project is to upgrade pedestrian walkways, connecting to all Metrorail Stations in Soweto in order to improve pedestrian mobility to allow for safer movement between different amenities and integration with the public transport facilities.

“The last thing we expect to happen when implementing such projects is endangering the very people who are the beneficiaries of those developments. Once again, our sincere condolences go out to the family of the deceased," said Member of Mayoral Committee for Development Planning, Cllr Reuben Masango.