Sars services move online as cause of fire at Joburg building is sought
Wednesday’s Marshalltown fire started in a basement used to store archives
The cause of the fire that damaged files and documents at the SA Revenue Service’s (Sars’) Johannesburg CBD branch is still unknown and services will have to be offered online.
A fire broke out in the basement level of the Sars building in Rissik Street in Marshalltown on Wednesday. Johannesburg emergency management services sent two fire engines to contain the fire in the basement, which was used for storage.
Staff and taxpayers were immediately evacuated and no-one suffered any serious injuries.
The building has been closed and services at the branch have been suspended but will be provided virtually.
“The cause and extent of the fire is unknown at this stage and will be investigated. Taxpayers are urged to book an appointment for assistance via the Sars website. Those who want to visit our offices can make an appointment to visit either the Randburg or Alberton branches,” Sars said.
MMC for public safety Mgcini Tshwaku said the basement of the building stored archives.
“It’s a basement and an archiving area and no-one goes in there. These archiving areas are generally underground but here is a place where you are archiving and it catches fire … We need to check what is happening.
“The same happened at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital — the fire started in the basement, where they stored documents,” said Tshwaku.
This comes after the City of Johannesburg’s metro centre caught fire on Saturday, with the cause determined to be a faulty transformer.
In a notice to the city, Johannesburg City Property (JPC) CEO Helen Botes called on the city manager to immediately vacate all staff from the different blocks of the building, including all parking levels.
The hazard was known as far back as 2019 when engineers told the council the transformers were problematic and 40 years old.
Botes recommended all wings of the centre be closed with immediate effect due to the unstable nature of the transformers, which rendered the building unsafe.
“We will be finding immediate office accommodation for the executive mayor, the speaker of council and the city manager’s office. This will be a temporary solution until the executive adjudication committee (EAC) approval next week.”
The City of Johannesburg and JPC were to hold a media briefing about the status of the building on Tuesday but it has since been postponed.
Last week a hijacked three-storey building caught fire in Delvers Street in Marshalltown, where one person was treated for smoke inhalation.
This building was close to another hijacked building, the former Usindiso Shelter, which was gutted by flames on August 31, killing 77 people and injuring 60.
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