Several eyewitnesses and SABC staff have reported that they were evacuated from their building in Auckland Park on Wednesday morning after an alleged diesel leak sparked fears on an explosion. However, it seems the channel’s biggest concern is with “a release of fumes” into their offices, prompting the evacuation.
SABC evacuation: What we know so far
David Mashabela is a DJ for Radio 2000 – the station are occupants of the building, and he revealed that he and his fellow members of staff were asked to leave the building just after 11:00:
It’s understood that the television broadcasters of SABC have not been affected. However, the building which hosts all of SABC’s radio stations – including their local branches and SAfm – has experienced a mass evacuation, and workers are still stood in the car park awaiting further instructions.
Radio stations affected
Radio broadcasts have also been impacted, with some DJs – Mashabela included – being forced to leave an automated playlist on. Any live features or interviews scheduled for this time have been postponed.
Veteran journalist Thabiso Sithole revealed on social media that his SABC-based colleagues have told him a generator is leaking on the 16th floor of the building – which is halfway up the structure:
“Apparently, a generator on or around [the 16th floor] is leaking, following the power-outage. Radio Park has about 29 floors so it’s plausible to have generators there besides the basement. Again, this is not official from SABC but rather information I am getting from colleagues.”
SABC confirm “diesel leak” caused an incident
We contacted SABC for clarity on the matter, but nothing has been forthcoming. This is a developing story, and we will bring you more updates on this matter as we get them.
The broadcaster have issued an update on one of their Afrikaans channels, confirming that a “diesel leak” is responsible for the chaos:
Die Radiopark gebou van die SAUK in Auckland Park is weens 'n diesellekkasie ontruim. Uitsendings van radiostasies soos Metro, Five FM en Radio 2000 word geraak.
— SABC Nuus (@sabcnuus) May 15, 2019
Their official English-language team also issued an update:
— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) May 15, 2019