Joburg fire: Government must be charged with culpable homicide for death of 77 – Mashaba

Mashaba claimed authorities are aware of the people behind the hijacking of buildings in the Joburg CBD.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba says the government must be charged with culpable homicide after more than 70 people died in the Johannesburg CBD fire last week.

At least 77 people died in the tragic incident when a fire broke out in the Usindiso building on Thursday. Among the deceased were 12 children.

Speaking on Newzroom Afrika on Monday, Mashaba said the government must be held accountable for the fire at the hijacked building. 

He claimed law enforcement was aware of the people behind the hijacking of buildings in the city, saying he brought the cases to President Cyril Ramaphosa during his tenure as mayor. 

“The cases of corruption and maladministration in the city involve some of his [Ramaphosa] colleagues who are today in parliament and in government. We’ve got a crisis and, unfortunately, our law enforcement agencies are refusing to assist. What we are sitting [on] here is a ticking time bomb,” he said.

READ MORE: Panicking Joburg CBD fire victims were ‘squashed against closed gate’

Mashaba said he would also be calling for the state to be charged with culpable homicide if the incident happened under his administration. 

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, speaking about the fire over the weekend, acknowledged Mashaba’s work to reclaim Johannesburg’s hijacked buildings. 

“Mashaba himself has been dealing with this matter, he went to court [when] I was the minister of police. I worked with Mashaba to try to close down these buildings, some of [which] are owned by people who are dead,” said Mbalula. 

No need for committee of inquiry

ActionSA said there was no need for Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi to set up a committee of inquiry into the cause of the fire, saying the facts were clear over the circumstances that led to the blaze. 

We view this move as another PR stunt by the ever-grandstanding ANC Gauteng chairperson, who tends to use state resources for his gimmicks.

“ActionSA maintains that it is the state who should directly be held accountable for allowing the breakdown of the rule of law in the Johannesburg inner city. They were aware of the crises for many years but chose to do nothing, and unless urgent action is taken another disaster is waiting to happen,” said the party.

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