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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

‘Edwin Sodi’s next tender’: Mzansi reacts to Joburg CBD explosion

A reported explosion ripped through Bree Street in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday afternoon.

The Johannesburg city centre resembled a scene from an apocalyptic movie on Wednesday afternoon when chaos erupted after an alleged underground gas pipe explosion collapsed large parts of Bree Street.

A minibus taxis ferrying 16 passengers was one of the many other taxis and vehicles which overturned when the road cracked, resulting in a massive gaping sinkhole.

According to some reports, several motorists who were trapped in their vehicles, had to be freed.

joburg cbd explosion
Bree Street, in the Johannesburg CBD, was rocked by an explosion which caused the road to collapse on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Twitter @KabeloGwamanda

11 injured in Joburg gas explosion

Johannesburg Emergency Services (EMS) spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said at least 11 people were injured of the explosion.

“Eleven people were treated for injuries. Out of the 11, one was critically injured. All of them received medical attention and they were all transported to various healthcare facilities in the City of Johannesburg.”

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi was on the scene, declaring that it was a “miracle” that no fatalities were reported.

High-risk area

He added that residents in nearby buildings had complained of headaches, chest pains and breathing difficulties due to the overpowering smell of gas in the area.

According to IOL, gas could still be smelled in the air even after 8pm on Wednesday night.

Disaster management and emergency services personnel have cordoned off a one-kilometre radius evacuation area due to the possibility that the lingering chemical effluent could trigger another explosion.

City Manager Floyd Brinks said the area remains a risk while the structural integrity of the high-rise buildings were being assessed to avoid further disaster.

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

Impact on power supply could result in prolonged blackouts

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena said they have various pipes running under the tunnels in the Johannesburg CBD where a suspected gas explosion took place.

According to him, this could affect the electricity supply to Joburg residents, resulting in prolonged blackouts.

Egoli Gas denies Joburg CBD explosion was caused by gas leak

In a Twitter statement, Egoli Gas, however, claimed the explosion was not the result of a gas leak.

The piped natural gas reticulator services more than 8 500 customers across various markets in the Greater Johannesburg area. 

“It is unlikely that the explosion in Jhb CBD, Bree Street, JHB was caused by a gas pipeline or leak. Our network has experienced no pressure loss which indicates the gas pipelines are intact. Our customers in the area continue to receive gas uninterrupted,” Egoli Gas tweeted.

ALSO READ: Scores dead after gas leak at Angelo informal settlement in Boksburg

Tweeps react to Joburg gas explosion

Shell-shocked bystanders shared some footage of the devastation on social media, with Twitter reactions following thick and fast.

One Tweep mentioned that serial tenderpreneur and state capture-accused Edwin Sodi “are preparing for that tender he will not see through to fix JHB CBD roads”. This “tender moment” was shared in several other posts.

The controversial Bryanston businessman is notorious for allegedly pocketing millions via tenders awarded to his Blackhead consulting company…and then jumping ship way before completion of the projects.

ALSO READ: Hammanskraal cholera: Edwin Sodi’s R295m Rooiwal tender… where did the money go?

Recently we’ve been told by President Cyril Ramaphosa and other senior government officials that the torching of more than 20 freight trucks was an act of “economic sabotage”.

But one Tweep’s left-field theory that the blast was no “coincidence, but a planned terrorist attack”?!

The majority of reactions took aim at the overwhelming failure of many municipalities to maintain critical infrastructure and effect upgrades.

Netizens also expressed their lack of confidence and hope that the repairs would be a swift and seamless operation…or that the government would make the necessary funds available.


Additional reporting by Faizel Patel.

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