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Daily news update: Joburg explosion, surgery backlog, N1 road closure

Here’s your morning news update: An easy-to-read selection of our top stories.

In today’s daily news update: a gas line explosion rocked Johannesburg on Wednesday evening. In unrelated news, the N1 will be temporarily closed this weekend.

Meanwhile, around 18 000 patients are awaiting surgeries in Gauteng, and all eyes are on the repo rate after a surprising inflation decrease.

Daily news update: 20 July 2023

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Here’s your easy-to-read selection of our top stories.

Joburg CBD explosion

Authorities have called on Johannesburg residents and motorists to avoid areas around Eloff and Bree Streets in the CBD following an alleged gas line explosion.

Scores injured after gasline explosion in Johannesburg CBD
The gasline explosion caused massive cracks in the road. Photo: Supplied

In pictures and videos circulating on social media on Wednesday evening, the entire Bree Street can be seen damaged from the alleged explosion.

At least 20 minibus taxis were damaged in the explosion.

READ: Joburg CBD explosion: Emergency services evacuating people due to gas risk

All eyes on repo rate

As the country records a decrease in inflation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) will sit on Thursday to decide on interest rates. Will it affect their decision? Can we now hope for no change?

inflation and the repo rate
Image: iStock

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has a constitutional mandate to protect the value of the rand by keeping inflation low and steady and uses interest rate to influence the level of inflation.

Inflation decreased by almost one percentage point in June to 5.4% from 6.3% in May. It is at its lowest level since October 2021, and below the upper limit of the South African Reserve Bank’s monetary policy target range of between 3 and 6%.

READ: All eyes on repo rate after surprising inflation decrease

N1 road closures

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) warned of impending road closures along a vital portion of the N1 highway this weekend.

N1 road closures, construction weekend july 2023
Photo: iStock

The closure is part of Sanral’s plan to accommodate the construction of a new bridge on Solomon Mahlangu Drive in Erasmusrand, Pretoria.

Alan Agaienz, the project manager for Sanral’s northern region, said the construction of the new bridge requires the placement of pre-cast concrete beams over the N1 highway.

READ: Weekend travel plans? Be aware of N1 road closures

Surgeries backlog

In January this year, around 32 000 patients were awaiting surgical procedures at public hospitals in Gauteng. As of this month, that number is at around 18 000.

Surgeons in an operating theater.
Image: iStock

The alarming figures have shed light on the extreme pressure South Africa’s public health system is under.

The patients have been waiting to undergo surgical procedures such as plastic surgery, neurosurgery, urology, orthopaedics, hernia repair, prostate biopsy, colostomy closures and many others.

READ: Gauteng Health decreases surgeries backlog, but thousands still waiting

Thursday weather

The SA Weather Service (Saws) said disruptive snow could cause hazardous driving conditions and pose a risk to livestock this week.

SA Weather Service issues level 1 warning for disruptive snow over Drakensberg
Picture: iStock

This alert was issued for the central and northern high-lying regions of the Eastern Cape, as well as the Free State and the southwestern regions of KwaZulu-Natal.

Chilly and damp conditions are set to prevail in the elevated regions across the Eastern Cape and the central and western parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

READ: Weather: Dangerous driving conditions, livestock loss due to snow

In other news:

Daily news, 19 July

READ: Mkhwebane for prez? Senzo Meyiwa trial, war with Russia

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Daily news update

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