UPDATE | Joburg EMS confirms death of one person in Bree Street collapse

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Johannesburg emergency services say one person has been found dead and 41 people have been injured as a result of the Bree Street explosion in the CBD on Wednesday afternoon.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

In the audio below, Joburg EMS Spokesperson Robert Mulauzdi confirms the death of one person: 

Some reports say a gas explosion caused the road to collapse. However Egoli Gas has released a statement refuting claims that the cause of the explosion has been a gas leak.

Police deployed

The JMPD and the police have been deployed to the City Centre to ensure the safety of the public on all affected routes. JMPD spokesperson, Xolani Fihla says a contraflow traffic management system is in place on Rahima Moosa Street between 6 o’ clock this morning until 14H00 this afternoon.

“Motorists are advised that Lilian Ngoyi (Bree) Street in the Johannesburg CBD is closed off to traffic between Pixely Ka Seme (Sauer) and Von Weilligh Street, and also expect closures on all the streets crossing Lilian Ngoyi Street between Rahima Moosa and Plein Street, and these include Simmonds Street, Harrison Street, Loveday Street, Rissik Street, Joubert Street, Eloff Street and Von Brandis Street.”

Power services affected

Meanwhile, City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena says power services within the Johannesburg CBD are affected by the explosion.

“Three substations were affected. These include, Braamfontein and Johnware substations are currently off. Our teams decided that we should not switch them on for fear that it might ignite with reports of suspected gas leak in the vicinity. Bree substation is a few meters away from the area with the huge impact, and the suspicion is that its structural integrity may have been affected. Unfortunately, one City Power employee was injured during the explosion on her way to work, and she is one of those currently hospitalised.”

Environmental issue

Environmental activist Thabo Mopasi says the long standing acid mine drainage issue in Johannesburg has been a ticking time bomb for some time.

Mopasi is concerned about the acid mine drainage issue. “It’s something that has been waiting for quite some time now. It’s something that has been waiting for quite some time now. The seriousness of acid mine drainage. Its eating steal underneath the ground of the buildings, and form corrosion and when structures like pipes have have been corroded, they’re easily to be damaged or crack when there’s an impact including heavy rain, sand and stuff, compression. There were some companies that were given responsibility to contain acid moneyed acid mines, and they left it and that spillage has actually affected quite a number of things. Cables corroded, steals that supplies the water.”

GALLERY | Images posted on social media show cracked tarmac in the vicinity of the corner of Bree Street and Rissik Street