Despite the City’s claim of having spent millions of rands to secure it, the site of the Johannesburg explosion remains unguarded and open to the public, raising concerns about safety and accountability.
As per allAfrica, the bill for securing the site escalated rapidly, with over R4 million reportedly spent within just ten days following the explosion on 19 July. Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda emphasised that the spending was for purchasing a fence and other measures to cordon off the area as methane gas continued to seep through the crack in the ground.
A significant portion of the funds were allocated to external consultants, water tankers, and the provision of temporary toilets for residents in nearby buildings, illustrating the complexity of the aftermath of the explosion.
Initial announcements gave the impression that teams were promptly dispatched to the scene to prepare for the reconstruction of affected streets, including Lillian Ngoyi (formerly Bree) Street. The estimated cost of repairing the underground service tunnel stood at an eye-watering R178 million.
However, recent visits by Johannesburg city council members revealed a starkly different reality. The disaster site was unguarded, accessible to shoppers and residents alike, wandering freely within the supposed cordoned-off area.
With a single Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) squad car parked at a distance from the site and no objection from officers to anyone entering the area, concerns over site security and protection have been exacerbated.
DA councillors, who had learned about ongoing work at the Lillian Ngoyi site, visited to assess progress and found the situation problematic. The unsecured area, with easily breached fencing and signs of vandalism, raised questions about the allocated budget, the effectiveness of the measures, and the commitment to protecting the area.
As investigations continue into the unguarded state of the explosion site, pressure mounts on the city’s leadership to provide clear explanations and a transparent breakdown of the expenditures related to this critical matter.
Picture: Facebook / NTV Uganda
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