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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Frequent fires in Joburg CBD a wake-up call to inept govt

Investigating the alarming frequency of fires in Johannesburg's CBD, from potential causes like corruption and poor safety to government inaction.


Why have there been so many fires in the Johannesburg CBD of late? Is it because of lack of maintenance, corruption or just plain poor safety checks? Or, all of the above? Wednesday’s fire incident at the South African Revenue Service building in the Joburg CBD made it four big fires in the past month. We’ve been lucky that the last few fires haven’t resulted in any deaths – unlike the Marshalltown fire that claimed 77 lives and left many more injured. The five-storey building was owned by the City of Joburg, yet was hijacked. There are many buildings –…

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Why have there been so many fires in the Johannesburg CBD of late? Is it because of lack of maintenance, corruption or just plain poor safety checks?

Or, all of the above? Wednesday’s fire incident at the South African Revenue Service building in the Joburg CBD made it four big fires in the past month.

We’ve been lucky that the last few fires haven’t resulted in any deaths – unlike the Marshalltown fire that claimed 77 lives and left many more injured.

The five-storey building was owned by the City of Joburg, yet was hijacked.

There are many buildings – deemed unfit to live in – throughout the city that have been taken over by gangs that force families to pay rent after being abandoned by their owners.

READ: Joburg’s fire epidemic: Politics fanning the flames?

These buildings do not have running water, toilets or a legal electricity connection.

They are disasters waiting to happen. There’s been other fires too. Just think the fire in 2021 at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, which forced its closure for many months.

So what exactly is being done to prevent this from happening again? The short answer: clearly not enough. President Cyril Ramaphosa called the Marshalltown fire a “wake-up call”.

Mr President, we’re afraid it is more serious than that. Isn’t it time you, your government catch a wake-up before many more lives are lost?

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Joburg Fire Johannesburg CBD (Joburg)

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