Gauteng police seized a huge arms cache including 60 homemade bombs, a suspected suicide bombers vest and AK47 assault rifles which were discovered in a Randburg building under renovation.
The munitions were found in a locked storeroom by a group of workers late yesterday.
The discovery saw police ordering the evacuation of several blocks within the Randburg central business district, cordoning off streets and stopping pedestrians approaching the scene.
Among the weapons, which were in various conditions, were 60 homemade hand grenades, seven AK47 rifles, 16 pistols, 12 revolvers and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
The owners of the munitions and the storeroom were still unknown by last night.
Gauteng police spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo said: “We understand that the building has a new owner.
“When contract workers were renovating [the building], they found a bag that looked suspicious and called the police.”
He said when officers discovered what was inside the bag they immediately summonsed the bomb disposal squad members as well as the K9 Explosive Unit.
Masondo said after discovering weapons in the bag they conducted a further search of the building.
“In one of the rooms in the basement, we found quite a lot of firearms which included AK47s, revolvers, R1 semi-automatic assault rifles, pistols, bombs and lots of ammunition.
“We can [also] confirm that there was one suicide vest that was found which had several of the bombs attached to it.”
He said that most of the firearms had had their serial numbers filed off.
“We cannot [immediately] tell you who they belong to.”
Masondo said that some of the weapons had been covered in rust.
He said that no arrests had been made.
Masondo said detectives were investigating who had owned the storeroom.
Times Media understands that the building previously housed flats as well as several businesses, including a hardware store.
Randburg resident Puseletso Mofokeng said shoppers began to run when police gave orders for the area to be evacuated.