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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Tensions run high in dispute over relocation of Joburg CBD fire victims

The Gauteng High Court named a location listed as "portion 18 of Patlynn", in Johannesburg South to which the Joburg fire victims would be taken.


Tensions ran high on Wednesday in a dispute over the relocation of Joburg fire victims to Kibler Park, south of the city.

The fire broke out at what was believed to be a hijacked building in Delver Street in Marshalltown last month. No person was injured and all those living inside the three-storey building in the city centre were safely evacuated.

A resident told The Citizen at the time there were about 1,000 living in the building.

Concerns

“Portion 18 of Patlynn” was listed by the Johannesburg property company as the site of relocation in its Gauteng High Court challenge over the burnt building, and was confirmed by court order.

During a heated council meeting at the Kliprivierberg Recreation Centre on Wednesday night, Kibler Park residents voiced their concerns about the Joburg fire victims being relocated to their area.

According to a council member who attended the meeting, residents wanted their rights protected.

“There are a lot of concerns about the relocation. The meeting was hijacked for political reasons and those politicians have indicated to us [that] there will be nothing happening tomorrow (Thursday) so you need not worry.”

“However, the community is not convinced. They want something more solid, some confirmation, something in writing. We as a council are also concerned. We are not being consulted and I understand the community has decided that they will be there tomorrow to make sure and protect their rights,” a council member said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Two blocks from deadly Marshalltown blaze, another Joburg CBD building up in flames

Relocation

Joburg MMC for Human Settlements, Anthea Leitch, attended the meeting on Wednesday night and addressed residents’ concerns about a Gauteng High Court order on the relocation.

Leitch’s spokesperson Cala Schults told The Citizen, a meeting has been scheduled on Thursday morning to discuss the residents’ concerns.

She earlier confirmed victims would not be moved to the area yet.

“The MMC would like to take this opportunity to make it clear to the residents in and around this area that the officials from the City of Johannesburg – including those over which she has direct political oversight at human settlements – are still processing the court order and no displaced people should be moved to Kibler Park or elsewhere in Ward 125 or 23.

“She respects the court, and therefore a different solution, within the bounds of the law, is being explored. Other solutions indeed exist, with alternative options,” said Schults.

According to eNCA, the city will argue before the court the plot of land listed is not suitable for habitation, and they are looking for alternative accommodation.

ALSO READ: No injuries or damages after 2.5 magnitude ‘earthquake’ hits Gauteng

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