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Johannesburg CBD Fire: A Wake-up Call for Government, says President Ramaphosa

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

A tragic fire struck a five-story building within the Johannesburg CBD in the early hours of Thursday, resulting in 74 deaths. In response to the incident, President Cyril Ramaphosa, alongside Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, led a government delegation to inspect the ruinous site.

The building, confirmed by City of Joburg officials to have been hijacked, was intended as shelter for abused women and children by the Gauteng Department of Social Development. However, criminal syndicates reportedly hijacked the building from its legitimate occupiers.

The President, initially scheduled to deliver an address on the outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit, postponed the televised address to address the situation in person. Ramaphosa stated that the disaster is a lesson and a wake-up call for government officials, underscoring the need for swifter action when dealing with condemned, risk-ridden buildings.

Political party leaders and the Johannesburg Property Owners and Managers Association have expressed their concern over the continued occurrence of such incidents, further emphasizing the urgent need to handle illegal occupations and hijackings.

The President received international condolences for the tragedy from the Russian President Vladimir Putin and African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat. Whilst political leaders at the provincial and national level continue to strive for solutions, emergency services remain active at the scene of the disaster.

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