#ICYMI: Investigation into cause of #JHBfire begins

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba tweeted that he was at the scene, assessing the damage. Photo: Supplied


A preliminary investigation into what caused the fire that started this morning in Johannesburg’s inner city, claiming seven lives, will now start.

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba tweeted that he was at the scene, assessing the damage.

The hijacked Cape York building, Mashaba said, is an all too familiar tragic narrative in the inner City. “[Residents] live in squalor and pay with their [lives],” he said.

Onlookers reported that residents tried to escape the fire by tying sheets and bed linen together.

One person jumped to his death.

Nana Radebe, spokesperson for the City’s Public Safety Department, said a call was received at 9am this morning.

“When firefighters got to the scene, the second floor was alight and one person jumped to his death.”

Radebe said that after entering the building, rescue workers recovered six more bodies.

At around 1pm, the fire had been extinguished and the search for more injured residents had ceased.

The fire has sparked conversations on Twitter about hijacked buildings and what is being done about them. Some users questioned the safety of these buildings and saw the need for them to be renovated.


Mashaba has said hijacked buildings are a major problem in the inner city. “Our people [are] living in deplorable conditions and being abused by slumlords who extort money from them.

“At Vannin Court, it was found that the occupiers are renting beds in the units from ‘owners’ for amounts ranging from R250 to R1 200 per person.”

The inner city is a special project for Mashaba since taking office. He has made oversight visits and consulted with various departments to come up with solutions to counter the decay the inner city faces.

The Urban Development Zone tax incentive, which was announced in 2003, is still the City’s foot to stand on when convincing and enticing potential investors.

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Mashaba takes another jab at hijacked buildings 


Chantelle Fourie

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