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State of Metro Centre.

For Immediate Release

Media Statement

02 October 2023

Mayor Gwamanda on the state of the Metro Centre building 

Two weeks ago, the Metro Centre experienced power outages that forced the City to evacuate the Metro Centre complex for the safety of employees and all who visit it.

The B-Block and Council Chamber Wing (CCW) buildings within the complex do not have power to date owing to electrical faults on the four transformers that feed the Centre.

The City commissioned a professional team to conduct a comprehensive diagnosis of the four (4) transformers and to provide a report. The report received confirms what has been a known challenge, fear and fact. The building’s transformers have outlived their useful life.

To exacerbate matters, two weekends ago the MIS building where these four transformers are situated caught fire, which appears to have started in the area where the transformers are housed.

The unstable nature of the transformers renders the building unsafe as evidenced by the fire at the MIS building. This has necessitated we take the drastic step of closing off the building to employees and visitors as a safety measure.

The Office of the City Manager and the relevant departments are in the process of finalising business continuity measures that will minimise disruption to city services during this period. These will be communicated to the public in due course.

The Metro Centre has been a point of concern for some time. The building is over 50 years old and the transformers over 40 years old. The building houses the Executive, Legislature and several core departments. It provides various essential services to members of public on a daily basis. The building also houses approximately 3,000 City employees.

A building as old as the metro centre requires major refurbishment every 15 years so as to keep its structural integrity and operating components up to standard with applicable occupational health and safety standards.

There are also a host of legislation and regulations in place that further pronounce on building standards and infrastructure requirements that when complied with certify a building for occupancy. In this regard, the Metro Centre falls short.

​In 2019, the City commissioned a report into the state of the Metro Centre. The said report was presented to Council and it flagged several structural, mechanical and electrical concerns with the building. In simple terms, the report concluded that the Metro Centre building was uninhabitable, meaning it is unsafe for use and occupation.

Early this year, the Department of Employment and Labour served the City through the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) with a Confirmatory Notice that needs urgent action.  The Department of Employment and Labour had stated in the same notice that the matter will be referred for prosecution in terms of Section 38 of without any further notice.

The previous Mayoral Committee under the multi-party government in 2022 rejected a report on the state of the Metro Centre and a proposal for the decanting of the offices to give way for a total-makeover and revamp of the Metro Centre via a public-private partnership (PPP).

We are now forced by circumstances to fast-track this process but are pleased that the JPC had fortunately commenced with a process of request for proposals that is at its final stages of evaluation and that should be finalised within the current month. This will provide alternative accommodation for the departments and employees of the City who occupy the Metro-Centre currently.

We are also hopeful that the intended PPP process of the Metro Centre will soon be initiated once approved by Council and will assist us to recreate the Metro Centre as a central hub for the City’s administration, economy and residents.

Unfortunately, as the City we cannot continue to risk the lives and wellbeing of employees any further and have taken the precautious decision to close the Metro Centre temporarily and to find alternative accommodation for employees as we push to minimise any disruption to services.