More than 70 dead in Johannesburg Migrant Building Blaze

Tragedy has struck Johannesburg as a blaze has taken the lives of over 70 individuals.

The city has claimed ownership of the building – and has admitted it was in a poor state – with no one cleared to stay inside. The city blamed criminals for “hijacking” the buildings and dangerously overfilling them, scenarios which can easily lead to a fire, ill health and loss of life.

South Africa has become a magnet for migrants in recent years, with 2.9 million immigrants reported by official government sources in 2020. However, numbers are expected to be higher due to the large number of undocumented migrants that roam the city.

The majority comes from either the expansive mining industry in the country, or due to the recent economic boom in what remains the largest economy in the continent.

Lebogang Maile, the politician responsible for housing in the local province, said there was a long-term problem with housing in the area, with 1.2 million locals needing somewhere to live, and turning to whatever space they can find.

In response to a question about whether his administration would take responsibility for the tragic blaze, Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda expressed that the issue was already being combatted, and that the problem of hijacking by criminal cartels, was one already fixed in other parts of the city, due to his initiatives.

Security & Fire Africa will report on the situation, as it develops.

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