"There needs to be law and order in the inner city" - President Cyril Ramaphosa

By Neo Poho

President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed that the illegal occupation of the dilapidated building at the centre of the Joburg CBD tragedy was a disaster in waiting.

An early-morning blaze on Thursday morning tore through a five-storey building owned and neglected by the City of Johannesburg.

The flames claimed the lives of at least 74 people, including 12 children, while more than 50 others were injured.

The abandoned building which once provided emergency shelter for women and children slowly filled up with squatters, illegal electricity connections and flimsy room dividers, rendering it a death trap to more than 200 families.

The president, who cancelled a scheduled address to the nation, visited the scene of the disaster later on Thursday and said it was important for the government to address the root cause of the blaze.

"We have to address this problem and root out those criminal elements because it is these types of buildings that are taken over by criminals, who then levy rent on vulnerable people and families, there needs to be law and order in the inner city.

This is an overwhelming problem, which the city, I know, has been working on addressing, this building is owned by the city and they sought to try and get order into this building," Ramaphosa said.

Meanwhile, Joburg city manager, Floyd Brink has reiterated that they will do their best to ensure that they act diligently in investigating the fire and equally in their pursuit to reclaim the hijacked and illegally occupied buildings in the city.

"We would at some point provide you with further information and plans on what it is we are doing specifically with the level of lawlessness and hijacked buildings within the City of Johannesburg," Brink added.

Article Tags

City of Johannesburg

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Marshalltown Fire

Law and Order


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