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By Kyle Zeeman

Deputy Digital Editor

‘Whether we like it or not, this is the result of apartheid’ − Lindiwe Zulu on Joburg CBD fire

Zulu said criminals were taking advantage of "desperate citizens", who she seemed to suggest should speak out.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says apartheid is to blame for a blaze that ripped through a building in the Johannesburg CBD.

At least 74 people, including seven children, and more than 50 others were injured when a fire broke out at the five-storey housing facility in the city.

Addressing the media at the scene of the tragedy on Friday morning, Zulu claimed apartheid laws had created the environment that sparked the disaster.

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

“Whether we like it or not, this is the result of apartheid that kept people apart in these conditions, and we are expected to change these conditions in 30 years. But where we have to take responsibility, we must take responsibility”

Zulu said criminals were taking advantage of “desperate citizens”, who she seemed to suggest should speak out.

“We have desperate foreign nationals who just want to make a living,” she added.

Criminals need to be rooted out

President Cyril Ramaphosa had earlier spoken out on these criminal elements, saying they needed to be “rooted out”.

“It is these kinds of buildings that are overtaken by criminals, who then levy rent on vulnerable people and families who need accommodation in the inner city. Poor people need to live in the city, but there needs to be law and order in the city”.

ALSO READ: ‘Joburg CBD building turned into informal settlement’ − EMS

City of Joburg’s Transport MMC Kenny Kunene alleged some NGOs work with the syndicates that hijack buildings to prevent evictions.

“The people who were living in the buildings were telling me some of these NGOs are actually on a retainer from syndicates who hijack buildings, so that whenever government wants to evict they take them to court,” he told eNCA.

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Cyril Ramaphosa Fire Johannesburg CBD (Joburg)

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