Former 2010 FIFA HQ in Sandton CBD demolished

Mpho Raborife, News24

Johannesburg - In less than a minute, two explosive bangs shook the ground and two high-rise buildings that once stood in the Sandton CBD were reduced to dust and rubble.

A cloud of dust rose over the corners of Rivonia road and 5th street at around 06:10 on Sunday as the building where football federation FIFA had set up its headquarters for the duration of the 2010 Soccer World Cup was demolished.

The building had been vacant for the past four years and was badly vandalised, Chief Operations Director of SA Demolishers Naeem Joosab said.

Property owners Regiments Real Estate approached the company in September to demolish the building.

The demolition was put on hold due to the Eco-Mobility Festival held in Sandton for the month of October.

"This contract was given to us in the beginning of September... So obviously work had to go at a very slow pace, and we basically started this on November 1.

"Ideally we'd like two months [to prepare], we had about 15 days to drill, load explosives and get ready. So we had to work a few good nights," Joosab said.

The building was situated next to the Sandton Library, one of Johannesburg's biggest and best-resourced libraries. After the blast, the building appeared to be unaffected.

"I am yet to find a piece of glass that is broken... Nobody's injured, nobody's hurt. Thankfully everything went well," said Joosab.

A passerby who works inside the Sandton City mall curiously walked to the demolition site and asked whether someone had bombed the building like the recent attacks in Paris.

"I just heard explosions from inside the mall and I was thinking, 'is it the same thing that happened in Paris?'"

Workers cleaning the site told the man and others who had gathered out of curiosity that this was what they did for a living, and that it was a planned project.