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Old, Faulty Transformers Blamed for Metro Centre Blaze



Metro Centre blaze joburg officials brief media

An internal memo leaked on Tuesday has shed light on the cause of the devastating Metro Centre blaze in Braamfontein last Saturday. Jacaranda FM reports that according to the notice, the fire came from old and faulty transformers within the building. The Metro Centre houses various offices, including Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, Cilliers Brink, and Speaker Colleen Makhubele, all relocated due to safety concerns.

This incident adds to a concerning trend of fires in Johannesburg’s inner city, including a tragic blaze in August that claimed 77 lives. Just last week, yet another fire erupted in a three-story building on Delver Street, further underscoring the pressing need for improved fire safety measures.

Also read: Johannesburg CBD Fire: Gauteng Government Nears Identification of Deceased Undocumented Migrants

In the leaked memo, the city’s Chief Operations Officer, Botes, recommended the immediate closure of the building. The document revealed that a service provider had identified the problematic transformers and that a full diagnostic report is pending. However, the situation had already been flagged in an engineer’s report from 2019. The report noted that the transformers were 40 years old.

The city is evaluating proposals for a solution. Botes is confident that a report on the Bid Evaluation Committee’s work will be submitted to the Executive Adjudication Committee for consideration and approval by the city manager in the coming week. In the meantime, the city is actively seeking alternative office accommodation for the mayor, speaker, and city manager.


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Picture: Facebook / Braamfontein Gate

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