The City of Johannesburg has informed people that it is addressing infrastructure breakdown and the municipality’s incapacity to deal with the long-standing issue of hijacked buildings.
Providing an update on the ongoing emergency response to the Joburg CBD fire, which has killed at least 74 people, Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda disputed on Thursday that the fire, which demolished the city-owned property, was linked to the metro’s decline.
The tragedy in Marshalltown came only weeks after a gas explosion swept through the CBD, killing one person and injuring 48 others, while the source of methane gas remains unknown.
It also takes place against the backdrop of Johannesburg’s notoriously unstable municipal government.
According to Gwamanda, the city and its outdated infrastructure are being prioritised.
“All three spheres of government will be engaging to resolve on a long-lasting solution because we feel that it is prudent and critical for us to put measures in place to ensure that we do not experience the same situation again. The City of Johannesburg has indeed experienced a series of disasters, of tragedies, but as the executive we say, it ends today.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended the emergency services for their efforts in combating the flames as search and recovery operations continue, with firefighters anticipated to bring out possibly more burnt dead.
On Thursday night, the president paid a visit to the scene of the fatal fire.
“I’m told that as soon as the fire was reported, in 10 minutes the firefighters were here. The sad part is that as much as they fought the fire, they were not able to save everyone and some people were saved, up to 49, but it’s sad that we’ve lost up to 74 people, some of them children, who must have died very, very tragically.”