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Deadly fire sparks fresh call for Joburg to address housing crisis

todayJanuary 22, 2024 49

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The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) says yesterday’s deadly fire in the Johannesburg inner-city is a reminder for the metro to address its housing crisis.

At least two people died and four others were injured when the building on the corner of Commissioner  and Nugget streets was gutted by the inferno.

A 30-year-old woman, who is alleged to have started the fire following a domestic dispute, faces murder charges over the incident at the illegally occupied building.

The tragedy comes less than a year after another hijacked and dilapidated building in Marshalltown caught fire, claiming the lives of over 70 people.

SERI’s Executive Director, Nomzamo Zondo, says if the building along Commissioner Street had functioning water and electricity, yesterday’s devastation could have been avoided.

She’s urged the local government to address the standard of inner-city buildings, if lives are to be protected.

 

Meanwhile, Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda says the more than 160 victims of the building fire will be housed at a sports ground for three days.

Gwamanda, along with city manager Floyd Brink, addressed the media on the preliminary investigation into the inferno.

He says while the tents set up were for less than 100 people, several others have also come forward needing housing.

Written by: Naomi Kobbie

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