The Department of Labor has “certain companies” in its sights that it “wants to question further” about the explosion that rocked a section of the Johannesburg city center on Wednesday.
“Given the similarities identified with a previous explosion incident at the Telkom building in Yeoville, the department is of the opinion that it should question some companies again,” says Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi.
The department’s investigation team had earlier called all the companies that have any kind of underground pipeline or cable in the area, including Egoli Gas and Sasol, to the scene to help with the investigation.
The department’s preliminary investigation indicates that the explosion that took place on Wednesday is similar to an explosion that took place in 2010 at the Telkom building.
“There are three junction boxes, or manholes, which contributed to the explosion; the explosion came through these manholes,” says Lesufi.
The nature of the explosion has also been analyzed, but the department is not yet sure what kind of gas caused it.
“We (the provincial government) earlier pointed out that natural gas was involved, but we have to withdraw this statement to give the investigation team the opportunity to complete their investigation,” he says.
Search and rescue teams deployed
According to Lesufi, a search and rescue team has been deployed in Johannesburg to look for other possible victims of the explosion. This comes after a man’s body was found under a car in Breestraat.
“Given the way the man’s body was found, we felt it was necessary to go back to the scene and make sure everyone was safe,” he says.
“The area will be thoroughly combed for any other victims.”
Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, MEC for health in Gauteng, says most of the more than 40 injured have already been discharged from hospital.
“The majority of patients were discharged shortly after doctors examined them,” says Nkomo-Ralehoko.
“Those who are still in the hospital have been stabilized and will soon be moved from the intensive care unit to regular wards.”