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By Kekeletso Nakeli

Columnist


When will Joburg’s ills end?

When we could be counting success stories, once again, we are busy with a body count.


Last year, my family planned a December vacation. It had been a rough year and all we wanted was to be in the ocean. With a newborn baby and a talkative five-year-old, caesarean scar and all, we were getting on the N1, N3 and the R34. It was going to be epic and the photo memories were going to live forever. ALSO READ: Braamfontein crematorium closed after Joburg gas line fire But we could not plan the holiday, extended at that, without having to worry about the stories being told, a phenomenon in the City of Gold, that should you…

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Last year, my family planned a December vacation. It had been a rough year and all we wanted was to be in the ocean.

With a newborn baby and a talkative five-year-old, caesarean scar and all, we were getting on the N1, N3 and the R34. It was going to be epic and the photo memories were going to live forever.

ALSO READ: Braamfontein crematorium closed after Joburg gas line fire

But we could not plan the holiday, extended at that, without having to worry about the stories being told, a phenomenon in the City of Gold, that should you leave your house unoccupied, even for a weekend, you run the risk of meeting squatters upon your return.

It was in this time that I understood that hijacked buildings are not necessarily in the Johannesburg CBD. My niece became the house-sitter, basically the deterrent to us losing our home.

Now, a fire has broken out in a building that should have been condemned a very long time ago, lives have been lost and all we can do is ask questions.

ALSO READ: Joburg gas line fire ‘an isolated incident’

Hijacked buildings are not only a danger to those who occupy them, but they daily prove to be a danger to a pedestrian minding their own business.

When Joburg’s transport MMC Kenny Kunene said a girl, a victim of human trafficking, was found in a hijacked building after the tragedy in Marshalltown, I rolled my eyes. For years and years, we have spoken of the depravity that exists in these buildings.

ALSO READ: It’s necessary to establish a direct link between negligence and Joburg fire deaths

We celebrate that the girl has been found and rescued, but how many more are not found and reunited with their loved ones while the government lacks the proactivity to reclaim our cities and the province as a whole.

We hope for better from our government; I know I do. Regardless of who is in power, we really want to believe that their tardiness and sometimes greed, if not a lot of the time, will be overshadowed by their love of the nation and they will roll up their sleeves and jump into action, restoring our nation to being great again.

ALSO READ: Under pressure Lesufi establishes a commission of inquiry into Joburg fire

We hope, but almost all the time we are met with reaction in times of tragedy. When we could be counting success stories, once again, we are busy with a body count. When will it ever end?

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Joburg Fire Johannesburg CBD (Joburg)

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