An unidentified explosion in Johannesburg has seen one person killed and a number injured. The local gas provider has denied involvement.
The explosion took place yesterday on Bree Street. The authorities have said 12 people were hospitalised. In videos, large cracks can be seen running down the street, with a number of taxis flipped over.
Bree street just now, sinkhole, earthquake or Zama Zamas I bet it's Zama Zamas. People are hurt I hear pic.twitter.com/w3HGmPQc1P
— Freeman Bhengu (@zibuseman) July 19, 2023
Egoli Gas said it was “unlikely” that its network was at fault. The company’s pipelines have seen no loss of pressure and supplies of gas in the area continue, it said.
Furthermore, Egoli said, its low pressure pipelines were “unlikely to cause an explosion or explode”. Videos from the scene show a collapse in the middle of the road, while Egoli said its pipelines are located along the sides.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said an investigation was under way. The government is talking to local providers, including Egoli, and Sasol.
“City Power…have since taken a decision to switch off the Bree Street substation so that the team can go in there and identify the cause and also assist us to identify areas that need our immediate intervention,” he said.
Centre of attention
Lesufi said there had been a “high smell of gas” in the area before. “Egoli Gas remains the centre of our focus because all of us agree that the cause of this explosion or impact is gas,” he said.
“We have asked them to identify all their pipes…and they’ve given us this information and then we’ll handover to those that are experts and they’ll advise us on how to take this process forward.”
Egoli said it had detected a small leak in a pipeline on the street, but said it believed the road collapse was the likely cause.
Speculation about what may have caused the explosion is rife. One line of investigation is the possibility of illegal mining, known as zama zamas.
City Power said three substations in the area did not seem damaged by the explosion but that power was off over fears of igniting a gas leak.
Explosion in Jozi… joubert and bree steet… pic.twitter.com/YSg0EGa1fT
— Sizwe Mchunu (@CzweMchunu) July 19, 2023