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Joburg CBD fire could have started even if building was compliant, says MEC

MEC Mamabolo has confirmed receiving a warning about the substandard condition of several government buildings in the Joburg CBD.

The government building in Johannesburg CBD that is still on fire on 6 September 2018. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has warned against speculating on the cause of a deadly fire at government building in the Johannesburg CBD.

One firefighter fell to his death while two others died apparently after running out of oxygen while battling the blaze on Wednesday.

That fire has reignited and spread to a different floor.

MEC Mamabolo has confirmed receiving a warning about the substandard condition of several government buildings in the Joburg CBD.

“We’re now, based on that report, able to say what are things that need to be done to bring the buildings to a level of compliance that’s in line with minimum standards. So, this report that we commission, was in direct response to stakeholders over the years.”

But he says Wednesday's fire could have started even if the building was safety compliant.

“Fire can be caused by arson, it can be caused by bringing in noncompliance devices into the buildings. It can be caused by all sorts of things.

“So, we must not conclude therefore that now that we’ve announced that the building was indeed noncompliant, and then we say that’s the cause of the fire.”

The building was just 21% compliant with health and safety standards.