Electricity remains switched off for businesses, homes near Joburg explosion site

An explosion rocked Joburg CBD on Wednesday. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

An explosion rocked Joburg CBD on Wednesday. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 20, 2023


City of Joburg’s power utility, City Power said on Thursday morning electricity remains switched off in businesses and residential buildings around inner city following the explosion.

One person has died and almost 50 other people were injured from the blast which left several vehicles damaged on Wednesday evening.

“Power supply to the businesses and residents within the inner city will remain affected until an assessment is done and a go-ahead is given by emergency services to test and switch on,” said City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused, and further updates will be given later in the day,” he said.

Mangena said the area is supplied from the Bree substation, which is a few metres from the epicentre of the explosion and is suspected to have been affected.

Underground tunnels carrying City Power cables through Bree Street have been damaged during the cave-in.

“The team is this morning continuing with the assessments of the extent of the damage on the electricity infrastructure, with the hope that we will access some of the surface and underground areas that we couldn't access last night due to the risks involved.

“There is huge amounts of water gushing underground starting to flood Johnware substation, which is about 4km towards Newtown,” said Mangena.

He said officials from Joburg Water have been notified to assist and are currently on site.

Authorities are scrambling to find answers regarding the recent Joburg CBD explosion that killed one person and injured 48 others.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, at a press briefing on Thursday morning, admitted that the lack of information concerning the cause of the blast is raising questions about the competence of the authorities.

“The team must give us answers as soon as possible on which systems are affected. If the systems are not affected, we can restore electricity and water services quickly. However, we are stuck because we don't know the cause,” said Lesufi.

He added: “We cannot have this kind of an explosion and not know why. That alone creates doubts, uncertainty, and questions about the capabilities we possess as a State.”

As investigators work to uncover the cause, Lesufi assured that once it's found, appropriate measures will be taken to support the people affected by the blast.

Updating on the number of victims, Lesufi confirmed that 48 people were injured, with 12 still in the hospital.

The injured were taken to hospitals including Hillbrow, Mulbarton, Garden City, South Rand, and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.