SA provider says gas lines didn’t cause fatal Johannesburg street blast

By Laureen Fagan - 20 July 2023 at 1:25 pm
SA provider says gas lines didn’t cause fatal Johannesburg street blast

At least one person has died and more than 40 others were injured when an underground explosion in Johannesburg tossed vehicles in the air and turned a street into rubble in the city’s central business district on Wednesday.

Robert Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the city’s emergency services, said the body was recovered at the scene. Some of the injuries were serious and those involved were taken for treatment to area health facilities.

What’s still not clear is what caused the explosion on Bree Street. City officials said the area remained closed to traffic on Thursday as the investigation continues.

“All of us agree that the cause of this either explosion, or impact, is gas,” said Panyaza Lesufi, head of the Gauteng provincial government. The provider, Egoli Gas, remains the focus of inquiry. “We’ve asked them to identify all their pipes,” Lesufi added.

But Egoli Gas has issued more than one statement denying that its pipes are involved.

“Our network has experienced no pressure loss which indicates the gas pipelines are intact. Our customers in the area continue to receive gas uninterrupted,” the company said in a statement.

Egoli pipelines run along the side of the road, not at the center where the road collapsed. And they’re low pressure lines, Egoli added, making them unlikely to explode. An update confirmed a small leak in a 100-millimeter line, but the company said it was caused by the explosion and not the other way around.

Authorities continue to search for the cause.

Image: Robert Mulaudzi/Johannesburg Emergency Services

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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