Fire closes Metro Centre for business

By Everson Luhanga

Many of Johannesburg’s top officials have had to vacate their offices after a fire broke out in the Metro Centre last week, rendering the building unsafe.

Among those who have had to pack up and leave are Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, city council Speaker Colleen Makhubele and City Manager Floyd Brink.

This was revealed in a memo addressed to Brink earlier on Monday 18 September from the Johannesburg Property Company, urging him to immediately inform staff to vacate the building.

The evacuation comes after the fire — caused by a faulty transformer — broke out at the Metro Centre on Saturday 16 September.

The memo said the building was flagged as unsafe in 2019, but officials ignored the warning.

The city’s service providers warned the city then that the 40-year-old electrical transformers in the building were problematic and unsafe. Now the investigation into the cause of Saturday’s fire has established that it was caused by the old transformers.

Scrolla.Africa is in possession of the memo addressed to Brink.

“In light of the fire at the metro centre . . .  it is recommended that the building should be closed as the fires seemed to have been caused by the old transformers,” the memo states.

“We are waiting for a full diagnostic report from the service provider. However, the 2019 engineer’s report which was served at the council also highlighted the state of the transformers.”

The memo added that finding immediate temporary office accommodation for people who worked in the building would be a priority.

Pictured above: The Joburg metro center building has been evaluated

Image source: Supplied

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