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business|financial|gas|infrastructure|pipelines|road|service|services|surface|underground|water|infrastructure

CoJ wants gas explosion declared local state of disaster

26th July 2023

By: Thabi Shomolekae

Creamer Media Senior Writer

     

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City of Johannesburg (CoJ) manager Floyd Brink said on Wednesday that the municipality has mandated its Disaster Management Centre to finalise a report to declare the recent gas explosion in the central business district a local state of disaster.

The report will be submitted to the Provincial Disaster Management Centre in the next seven days.

Brink was addressing the media on the progress of restoration efforts in the inner CoJ, where he noted that the municipality had commenced processes of compiling the report to begin with the necessary legislated processes.

“The declaration of the disaster is critical in order to allow us to assess the impact of the explosion on infrastructure and to cost the rehabilitation work required,” he said.

Wednesday marked seven days since the explosion occurred on Lilian Ngoyi street, formerly known as Bree street, which tore through the road, and which claimed a single life and left 46 people injured and hospitalised.

Brink highlighted that the CoJ had also assigned the Group chief financial officer to oversee a team to manage and oversee any procurement to facilitate its work in response to the disaster.

He further stated that the mandate was to ensure that the City complied fully with legislated procurement rules and audits, as it procured services for the response effort.

RESPONSE EFFORTS

Meanwhile, on Monday Brink said the City’s preliminary investigations into the explosion pointed to an accidental leakage of natural gas into the service duct, reaching explosion concentration levels of 5%-15% and ignited by an unknown source.

He said investigations would continue to try to locate the source over the next few days.

“As you are aware, investigations are still inconclusive on the cause of the explosion and what may have ignited the gas or the source of the gas in the underground tunnels,” he added.

He noted that the City continued to receive regular updates from experts on site and was also pushing to restore services and to prepare for the rehabilitation work of the road and underground tunnels.

“We have established a team of engineers from the various entities of the City to begin planning and scoping of the work we will need to undertake. It is evident to us that in rehabilitating the road surface and underground tunnels, we will have to implement new standards of how we manage and lay out underground service lines and connections. Amongst the anomalies currently, we have gas pipelines running parallel to water lines,” he said.

He added that this was not ideal and as the CoJ prepared to restore the street, its work would seek to set the standard of what should be the most suited, safe and appropriate layout of services infrastructure in the City.

Edited by Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia

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