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South Africa: Millions Spent and Joburg Disaster Site Remains Unguarded

The site of Johannesburg’s methane gas explosion remains unguarded and open to the public despite the City claiming it has already spent millions of rands to secure it.

The bill quickly escalated to over R4 million spent in just 10 days after the 19 July explosion.

Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda listed the purchasing of a fence and other means to cordon the area off as methane gas was still seeping through the crack.

A chunk of the money went to outside consultants, water tankers and the hiring of temporary toilets for residents in nearby buildings.

The city created an impression that teams were immediately at the scene to prepare for a reconstruction of Lillian Ngoyi (formerly Bree) Street and other affected streets.

An initial cost estimate of R178 million was presented just to repair the underground service tunnel.

But members of the Johannesburg city council who recently visited the disaster site found it unguarded, with shoppers and residents walking all over the disaster zone.

Just one JMPD squad car was parked a distance from the site with officers inside not objecting to anyone entering the supposedly cordoned off area.

Councillors from the DA who have been told work was underway at the site on Lillian Ngoyi visited the site to assess progress.

“The visit proved to be necessary as the site is mired with issues.

“Upon arrival, the DA councillors found an easy to access site, with several points of entry, barely barricaded by haphazard fencing.

“The fencing that was installed has already been vandalised, and the site was being used by civilians as a crossing,” said councillor Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku.

Kayser-Echeozonjoku said they will be demanding answers from the embattled Al Jama-ah mayor who is already on thin ice with President Cyril Ramaphosa saying ANC candidate Dada Morero should take over control of the city.

Kayser-Echeozonjoku said: “How was the site allowed to become so unsecure? How much did the fencing used cost, as it has very easily been damaged, moved, and vandalised?

“Where are the 250 officers promised to protect the site (as our visit revealed only one police van, parked far away from the site)?

“How much money has been spent thus far, and on what?”

 

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