Joburg explosion: Mayor says they are trying to barricade the area as onlookers flock to ‘crime scene’

Joburg executive mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. File Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA)

Joburg executive mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. File Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 20, 2023


Police officers deployed to the area where the explosion happened in Joburg CBD had their hands full on Thursday morning as hundreds of residents flocked to the area, some rushing through the area while many were just onlookers.

A police officer using a megaphone were warning the crowds to disperse, telling them that they should not be at the “crime scene” but many continued to ignore the message.

Some parents could be seen walking past the area with their young children, rushing to schools.

“We will have to use force if you do not take this message seriously”, the police officer using the megaphone told the crowds as other police officials moved to push back the crowds.

At least one person has been confirmed dead from the massive explosion which took place in Joburg CBD. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

At a press briefing alongside Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, Joburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda the area remains an active crime scene and they are trying to secure it.

“We are trying to barricade this area so that we can prevent further possibilities of the incident from taking place. I am very much confident and I hope that the residents are as well in the capabilities of our administration and the law enforcement agencies that are on the ground,” said Gwamanda.

“The JRA (Joburg Roads Agency) has been very efficient in identifying the areas that need to be quarantined and in redirecting traffic so that we can ensure that economic activity can continue in the City of Johannesburg.”

Gwamanda has appealed to Joburg residents to comply with the directives of the police and avoid flocking to the area where the explosion happened.

“For me, I encourage the residents to please be compliant with law enforcement agencies that are within the area, by-lookers (onlookers) should refrain from going anywhere to the incident itself because their lives are our priority,” he said.

Following the massive explosion on Wednesday in the Johannesburg's city centre, Egoli Gas has confirmed a "small leak" in its servitude pipeline located at the intersection of Bree and Eloff on a 100-millimetre pipeline.

A servitude is a limited right that one entity has to the use of another's property, and Egoli Gas's pipelines run along the sides of roads rather than in the center, where the explosion took place.

The company believes that the crack in the pipe was caused by the collapse of the road and is currently working to repair the leak.

Egoli Gas stated that the pipeline running along the servitude of Bree Street has been examined and found undamaged.

The company also noted that about 15 other utility lines, including a sewerage line, run directly beneath the street.