More than 2,000 households affected by Joburg explosion without water and electricity

Bree Street in Johannesburg's CBD after an explosion on Wednesday.
UNEXPLAINED Bree Street in Johannesburg's CBD after an explosion on Wednesday.

About 2,820 households along Lilian Ngoyi (formerly Bree) Street have been affected by the explosion and it is not known when water and power will be restored in the area.

Addressing the media at the scene of the disaster in Johannesburg CBD, city manager Floyd Brink said they spent most of Monday trying to find a plan on how they would restore water and electricity.

“We are now clear on the approach that we are taking forward. We might not be able to restore water and electricity at this point due to the fact that there are certain parts on this road that are not declared 100% safe,” he said.

Brink said it was difficult to send officials into an unsafe environment. He requested residents to bear with the city as they tried to resolve the affected services.

“We will continue to have our water tankers here and will continue to service the chemical toilets.

“We are also providing food to the people out here through different non-governmental organisations and we are going to ramp up that,” he added.

The city’s executive mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said it was too early to speculate who to blame for the cause of the explosion that left one person dead and 48 others injured. 

He said they have not reached zero percentage of gas level and until experts declare the area safe, they won’t be reconnecting water and electricity.

“This is because we are prioritising the lives of the people beyond anything else that we are expected to do, though it infringes on their service delivery and human rights,” he added.

Gwamanda said the accident was mainly a reaction from a combination of methane, oxygen and a spark.

“The problem we face, especially in the CBD, is manholes. There is their theft and vandalism, and we found that some of the entities had sealed them off and it creates immense pressure and when it catches a spark,  these consequences happen.”


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