Woman to appear in court for murder after starting deadly fire

A 30-year-old woman who was arrested for allegedly starting the fire that engulfed a building in Johannesburg CBD, killing two people, is due in court on Tuesday for murder.

This is according to National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane, who spoke to Sunday World on Monday.

The fire on Sunday morning engulfed a residential building on the corner of Commissioner and Nugget streets and resulted in 103 people being displaced.

Mjonondwane said a docket will only be brought to the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi said the suspect would appear in court on Monday.

However, Mjonondwane confirmed his Tuesday court appearance.

Two people perished in the fire, and four others were injured. The injured person is thought to have leaped from the balcony, and the bodies of the deceased were discovered on the first floor of the two-story building.

Cause of fire probed

The City of Johannesburg’s emergency management services said preliminary investigations and inspections are under way to determine the cause of the fire.

The building is believed to be privately owned.

On Monday, City of Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda and city manager Floyd Brink visited the site of the fire.

Officers from the SA Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department were among the law-enforcement personnel who closely monitored the area.

Addressing members of the media, Brink said the injured people are receiving treatment in healthcare facilities.

“Yesterday [Sunday], we got information that all four cases [of injured people] are minor. I was informed this [Monday] morning that one or two of them had been discharged,” he said.

“I will have to follow up with the team to get the correct figures.”

Temporary shelter

Brink said all the displaced people have been provided with temporary shelter at the sports grounds near the site of the damaged Kaserne Building.

Under 60 households lived in the building.

Brink added that the city was working with embassies and the Department of Home Affairs to assist all the displaced people.

“We have provided them with five-by-five tents, and these particular tents can accommodate up to two households.”

“The building controls officer, development planning [department], and inspectors are here to assess the situation. The building is not structurally sound, and we will condemn the building by this afternoon.

“We will allow the residents to come and collect their belongings. Afterwards, we will condemn the building, and we will not allow anyone into the building.”

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