South Africa: Jo’burg town hall blamed for deadly fire

South Africa Jo'burg town hall blamed
Jerome Delay/AP

The City of Johannesburg and its entities have been found guilty in a study for the 76 deaths that occurred in a building fire, which was one of the worst catastrophes in South Africa.

Tragic loss of life occurred in August of last year when a fire broke out at a five-story building in central Johannesburg. In October, an investigation into the incident was initiated under the supervision of retired Judge Sisi Khampepe. Judgment was handed out by Judge Khampepe on Sunday, May 5, and she found that the building’s owner, the City of Joburg, had “total disregard” for the building’s dangerous condition, which led to the disastrous result.

A disciplinary action was suggested by Judge Khampepe against the head of the Johannesburg Property Company, which is in charge of the city’s building inspections. In addition to recommending the building’s demolition, she suggested placing a memorial plaque in memory of the victims, including children.

A shocking confession by a resident who was supposed to testify during the January investigation—that he had set fire to dispose of the body of a guy he had allegedly murdered on the orders of a drug dealer—came to light during the probe.

Tragically, the incident highlighted how many people are taking advantage of people in need of accommodation due to the housing crisis and the proliferation of illegitimate landlords. Twelve children were killed and eighty-six others injured in the incident.

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