Second suspected Sanral anthrax scare

South African National Roads Agency head offices have been evacuated as an envelope containing white substance suspected to be anthrax was found inside the building on January 24, 2014 Photo: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The evacuation of the SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) central operations centre in Centurion, for the second time this week, was concerning, said Sanral CEO Nazir Alli.

About 2,000 staff were evacuated from the premises on Friday as staff found a suspicious envelope containing a white substance suspected to be anthrax.

"Sanral is extremely worried about the impact this kind of behaviour is having on the people who work at the centre," he said in a statement.

"Most of them are first-time workers and relatively young. Whoever is not happy about a government policy has appropriate channels to express their dissatisfaction."

Electronic Toll Collection, whose staff occupies the building, said on Friday the white powder found in the mailbox at the centre was not dangerous.

"Response management has been optimised and we can confirm that the substance has been tested and it has been concluded that it is not harmful," ETC CEO Jamie Surkont said.

He said the building was evacuated as a precautionary measure. It was not known what the powder was. It was found in the mailbox at the office.

Tshwane Emergency Management Services spokesperson Johan Pieterse said two individuals have been taken to hospital for medical observation.

“Emergency services and the police are currently at the scene. The whole building has been shut down. The suspicious envelope was found around 1.30pm. Police are still searching the building,” said Pieterse.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona refused to comment, saying the agency will issue a statement shortly.

This is the second anthrax scare targeting Sanral offices this week.

The building was the target of a similar incident on Tuesday.

Sanral is responsible for the implementation of Gauteng's controversial e-tolling system.

Additional reporting Sapa

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