Mashaba: Painful to see living conditions of people in hijacked buildings

Mayor Herman Mashaba says issues on hijacked buildings have been keeping him up at night.

An investigation is underway after a fire broke out at a building in the Johannesburg CBD on 16 August 2018. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says it’s painful to see the living conditions of people occupying hijacked buildings, like the one in the CBD where a fire broke out.

The cause of Thursday’s blaze has not yet been determined but residents have questioned the timing, saying it happened just two hours after authorities raided the building.

Just minutes after the building was declared safe by the emergency services team, residents ran up the staircase to see if they could salvage any of their belongings.

Many were determined to reoccupy their homes despite the overpowering stench of smoke still hanging in the air.
One man is questioning the timing of the fire, which started shortly after the police, JMPD and city officials left the scene.

“It was the first time they came into these flats. After they left, about 30 minutes later, this happened.”

Mashaba says issues on hijacked buildings have been keeping him up at night.

“You look at the living conditions of our poor people who are actually made to pay.”

While firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze below, extraordinary scenes played out above, with women jumping onto an adjacent rooftop with their babies in a desperate attempt to escape.

One of the babies was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

WATCH: Joburg shop owners left in despair after fire

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)