Johannesburg - The families of the three firefighters who lost their lives at the Bank of Lisbon have been informed of the building’s demolition on Sunday, said the City of Johannesburg’s emergency medical services unit on Friday.
The building housed several provincial government departments when it caught fire in September last year, leading to three firefighters losing their lives while trying to put out the fire.
The fire raged on three days, as the struggling city's fire department called upon the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros to assist in putting out the fire.
The Bank of Lisbon fire claimed the lives of three firefighters: Simphiwe Moropane, Mduduzi Ndlovu and Khathutshelo Muedi.
Moropane's father, Robert, told Eyewitness News he learnt of the building being demolished in the media and claimed the families had not been informed about the demolition.
“We just heard from the media that the building will be demolished on Sunday. Obviously from my side I’ve never heard anything from anyone as the father of one of the deceased firefighters. If they did communicate, who did they communicate to?
“The people at the EMS, everybody has my number, no one has ever phoned me except the media. I was surprised to hear that the building is going to be demolished this coming Sunday,” the father told EWN.
But Nana Radebe, a spokesperson for Joburg EMS, said the three families had been informed of the demolition and would be ferried to the viewing by the city on Sunday.
“The issue of the demolition is not run by us, but by the province. They had alerted us and requested us that we inform the families, and the families have been informed,” she said.
“They are going to be taken to the building site by the EMS on Sunday,” she said.
Radebe said the issue of those claiming to not be informed was around “family dynamics”.
She said Moropane’s wife had been informed of the demolition by Joburg EMS and all three families would be represented on Sunday.
“The demolition issue is not ours at all, we have no role to play in it. We were requested to assist and we did so,” she explained.
On Wednesday, Gauteng’s MEC for Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara announced that Jet Demolition had been awarded the tender to demolish the building after a competitive bidding process.
"The contractor has completed the pre-demolition process that includes decanting, salvaging, stripping of walls, ceilings and carpets, wrapping of the walls and demolition of basement floor slaps around the main structure core," said Motara in a government communique.
Post demolition, the Bank of Lisbon site was expected to be cleared by March next year.
Meanwhile, the following streets will be closed from Saturday because of the demolition: Diagonal, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, Ntemi Piliso, Commissioner, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Commissioner and Fraser streets.