Witnesses of the deadly Johannesburg Central blaze have described horrific scenes of mothers throwing their babies from a burning five-storey building, as they attempted to escape the fire.
At least 74 people have died following the deadly fire, which occurred at a hijacked building near Usindiso Shelter. Forty more patients are currently recovering in hospital.
Joburg Mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda, says it’s unclear at this stage what caused the tragedy.
One witness, a student who lives in nearby accommodation, says he’s been left traumatised after witnessing the devastating scenes.
The death toll has risen to 73, It is alleged that the majority of residents who occupied the building are from Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.#jhbfire #JoburgFire #JoburgCBD #Johannesburgbuildingfire #JohannesburdCBD #JHBCBD pic.twitter.com/xl3B8MsLTA— CrimeInSA (@sa_crime) August 31, 2023
No so long ago we were praying for Ukraine. Hashtags were flying left, right and centre. But today we are rejoicing over the death of black people, fellow Africans.— MaMhlanga Nompumelelo (@Mpumiln) August 31, 2023
May the souls of those who departed in Johannesburg CBD rest in peace and their families find comfort. 💔💔 pic.twitter.com/rxptE13EHt
Meanwhile, former acting Joburg mayor, Kenny Kunene, has slammed the city for refusing to clamp down on illegally occupied buildings.
In May, Kunene made headlines after embarking on a city-wide intervention to regain control of several hijacked buildings.
At the time, human rights organisations slammed the acting mayor for targetting poor people and launching “unlawful raids”
Kunene has slammed the government for its lack of intervention on the issue of abandoned buildings.
WATCH: Joburg Transport MMC Kenny Kunene explaining how SA laws are protecting criminality… He says there are certain syndicates who are mainly illegal foreigners mostly from Zimbabwe and Nigeria, they are behind the hijacking of buildings and renting them out to people.… pic.twitter.com/szrVikbWwi— THE TRUTH PANTHER (@TheTruthPanther) August 31, 2023
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the scene of tragedy and has conveyed condolences to the residents of Johannesburg.
Written by: Naomi Kobbie