Tue. May 28th, 2024

An inquiry into a fire that killed 77 people in the South African city of Johannesburg last year has blamed it on neglect by the authorities.

The investigation has cast light on the gangs that seize abandoned public buildings to illegally rent them out in Marshalltown area.

The August fire broke out in a district notorious for gunfire, murders, the sex trafficking of teenagers and drug deals.

After months of investigation, a commission of inquiry into the deadly fire said on Sunday that lives would have been saved had preventive measures been taken.

It added that the Johannesburg city’s management and its respective emergency services units failed the people living in Usindiso building, mostly foreign nationals.

But in a statement, the city said it was waiting to receive the official report upon which it would “address any relevant matters”.

A suspect confessed to starting the fire to dispose of a murder victim he had killed while high on crystal meth.

The authorities are accused of failing to demolish the rundown building or collect the accumulating rubbish.

Firefighters were accused of being slow to respond.

Johannesburg is one of the world’s most unequal cities, its luxury houses with private swimming pools in leafy suburbs on one side, and semi-derelict crime-ridden slums on the other.

By Joy

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