Another hijacked building in flames in Johannesburg

Another hijacked building has burst into flames in Johannesburg, spurring the city manager to declare the city ‘under siege’.

City Manager, Floyd Brink claims that criminal syndicates are carrying out arson attacks on each other’s buildings, with hundreds of innocent individuals caught in the crossfire.

On Friday, a fire broke out on the first floor of a three-story hijacked building in Marshalltown.

“We are happy with the EMS that has responded on time,” said Joburg Safety MMC Mgcini Mtshwaku, adding there will be an investigation “in terms of what really happened.”

As previously covered on Security & Fire Africa, criminals can take hold of dilapidated buildings, then offer rooms in the properties for homeless, lost city-dwellers to stay, a semi-safe place to hold their goods. These buildings have been condemned, and are open to collapse at any point, however, the practice is becoming commonplace in many suburbs of Johannesburg – including Marshalltown.

With criminal gangs making a profit off of the enterprise, rivals are seeking to starve each other of income by committing arson to each other’s properties.

Fire officials remain on alert, following the fire at the start of September, which killed 77 people. The Gauteng provincial government has since instituted a commission of inquiry into the building fire.

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