ActionSA holds municipality accountable for deadly CBD fires

ActionSA has called on the City of Johannesburg to account for the ongoing crisis of deadly fires in hijacked buildings.

The party’s call comes in response to a fire that broke out on Sunday at the intersection of Commissioner and Nugget streets.

A woman, allegedly involved in a domestic dispute, has since been arrested for igniting the deadly blaze.

This tragic incident is not the first of its kind.

In August, a fire swept through an illegally occupied and abandoned building in Johannesburg and claimed the lives of 77 people. More than 80 people were injured, while scores were left homeless.

It was recognised as one of the deadliest fires in the city’s history.

The ActionSA caucus in Johannesburg believes that the fatalities resulting from fires across the CBD (central business district) are a direct consequence of the government’s negligence.

Tactics to obstruct ActionSA

Caucus leader Nobuhle Mthembu has accused Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda of employing various tactics to obstruct ActionSA motions aimed at tackling the problems associated with hijacked buildings.

Mthembu emphasised that the council’s programming committee rejected two ActionSA-sponsored motions in September, citing an inquiry initiated by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi, which, to date, has yielded no tangible results.

“ActionSA Joburg caucus is of the view that the fatalities owing to fire within the Johannesburg CBD should be squarely blamed on the delinquent ANC-led government,” Mthembu said.

“The mayor, Kabelo Gwamanda, has used every trick in the book to deter ActionSA motions, which were aimed at addressing the issues emanating from hijacked buildings.

“We will, however, use every legislative piece to compel the City of Johannesburg to reclaim hijacked buildings before another soul is lost and call upon Gwamanda to usher the City of Johannesburg into an era where hijacked buildings will be a thing of the past.”

ActionSA motions rejected

She argued that the rejected motions sought to recommend the expropriation of hijacked buildings and their conversion into affordable rental units or social housing.

Said Mthembu: “The recent fire on the corner of Commissioner and Nugget streets, which claimed two lives, is another grim reminder of an administration that has lost touch with reality and believes in quick fixes as opposed to permanent solutions.

“This could have been avoided had the city heeded our calls and reclaimed hundreds of these hijacked buildings, which are not suitable for human occupation.

“ActionSA Joburg caucus will ensure that the executive accounts for more than 6-million residents in the next council sitting.

“We need a South Africa where respect for the rule of law is universal and entrenched in our society and where our laws are enforced to protect the rights of all people without fear, favour, or prejudice.

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