Brink claims city ‘under siege’ by syndicates setting fire to Jhb CBD buildings

The City of Johannesburg's manager's suspicions follow another fire that broke out in a hijacked building in the inner city on Friday, just weeks after the Albert Street tragedy that claimed 77 lives.

Firefighters responded to a 3-storey building on fire in Marshalltown on 15 September 2023. Picture: X/screengrab from @RobertMulaudzi

JOHANNESBURG - City of Johannesburg manager Floyd Brink claims the metro is “under siege” by criminal syndicates carrying out arson attacks on buildings in the inner city.

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

It’s understood the building was initially a factory before falling into the hands of bogus landlords.

READ: CoJ firm on eviction of residents from second Marshalltown building hit by fire

Giving an update on the city’s efforts to reclaim decaying properties in the CBD, Brink shared his suspicions on the recent fires in the metro.

“It’s almost like we’re under siege, it’s like we’re almost placed in the centre of this. We suspect that there might be some form of sabotage when you look at all these fires that came up in the last few weeks,” he said.

“We see it as maybe the pushback in order to force government's hand in order for us to provide formal housing. We are aware of the housing backlog in the City of Johannesburg and in Gauteng, as well, but what we have now seen is a level of lawlessness.”

The latest blaze comes as residents are still reeling from the Albert Street tragedy that claimed 77 lives, including 12 children when a fire tore through an overcrowded building in August.