Watch | Joburg’s Kaserne building implodes, temporary accommodation erected

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The Kaserne building was imploded to make way for new development in the Marshalltown area. Photo: Sthembiso Lebuso
The Kaserne building was imploded to make way for new development in the Marshalltown area. Photo: Sthembiso Lebuso


At 10AM on Sunday an explosion rocked Marshalltown in Johannesburg as the derelict Kaserne building was imploded. After four seconds, the five storey building was reduced to rubble.

The building which was home to more than 500 people was condemned by the City of Johannesburg’s department of housing following a fire that killed 9 people in April last year. The city’s mayor, Mpho Phalatse, said the building is making way for housing development with 1500 units expected on and around the area where the Kaserne building used to stand.

Phalatse said the development in the area is part of city’s efforts to address the more than 400 000 housing backlog in the city.

Shacks have been erected to house the people who used to live in dingy conditions in the Kaserne building. There was no running water or electricity. The fire that broke out in the building was a result of illegal connections.

Addressing concerns over how the shacks that were erected were spaced out, Mlungisi Mabaso, the city’s housing MMC (Member of Mayoral Committee) said that they only erected the structures in that way as they were trying to clear everyone out for the purpose of the implosion.

“There’s another site that has been identified where we will be doing the reblocking and resettling of all the residents that lived in the building,” Mabaso said.

READ: City of Joburg's war over Shadrack Sibiya

The MMC was not able to give a timeframe as to when the development would start or even finish. “There are a lot of processes that we still need to engage, like environmental studies. We are currently at that phase. We cannot give a timeframe as the development planning has its own processes. We are expediting the process before this site is invaded,” Mabaso said.

Phalatse said they are working on redeveloping 9 other building in the inner city.

“These are buildings we can start redeveloping right now as they are not occupied and do not come with the need to provide temporary emergency accommodation. We have other buildings that we have identified but they are occupied, and we would need to provide temporary accommodation. We need to manage it carefully so that the situation does not become untenable as we reclaim these buildings and redevelop them,” Phalatse said.

Addressing concerns over security around the site, Mabaso said that there will be 24-hour security on the site to ensure that people do not come for the valuable steel work that used to make up the structure of the Kaserne building.


Sthembiso Lebuso 


+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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