South Africa: Gas tanker explosion death toll rises to 40

BOKSBURG (Gauteng, South Africa), Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi says the number of those that have died as a result of the tragic gas tanker explosion in Boksburg in December has increased to 40.

This includes at least 12 health-care workers who were based at the Tambo Memorial Hospital near the location of the blast.

Others are still in hospital while a further 23 have been discharged.

“There are no words to adequately convey our condolence to the affected families that are now having to deal with 2023 on matters that they didn’t foresee.

“It will take time for the wounds to heal but we are ready as the Gauteng Provincial Government, together with all components of local government, to walk this painful journey with all the affected families and further assist in whichever way we can.

“This has not been an easy period, particularly for those who have lost their loved ones. We implore our health professionals to provide the best care to those that are still on their road to recovery,” he said on Thursday.

Lesufi added that some families will be pursuing legal action against the company that owns the gas tanker.

“We really believe this is within their rights to pursue whatever means of recourse available to them within the legal system. This, however, does not mean that government must not pursue the matter to its logical conclusion.

“As government we have not abandoned our mission to protect, care and give them the necessary support. We will be the last ones on the scene and until each and every family is supported, until each and every institution is supported, I want to commit the GPG to be there until the last moment,” he said.

The Premier said trauma, debriefing services and psycho-social work continues to be offered to the families and those affected.

Turning to the damage caused by the explosion at the Tambo Memorial Hospital, Lesufi said Gauteng’s Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) has already completed some of the work.

“The construction work for the replacement of broken windows at the hospital, including the nurses’ residence, has been completed. Some of the [other] work is almost complete following delays because of the festive season break,” he said.

Work to restore the hospital’s casualty unit, however, is expected to take longer.

“Due to the extent of the damage, the casualty unit at the hospital remains closed. The [DID] maintenance team has developed specifications and costing for this remedial work and they’ve given [this] to the Department of Health for approval and…the Department of Health has approved. The DID have subsequently appointed a contractor.

“We now anticipate the conclusion of this work in four weeks’ time so that that hospital can go back and function again,” he said.

Source: Nam News Network