Defend Truth

INNER-CITY BLAZE

City of Johannesburg points finger at NGOs and foreign nationals after deadly fire

City of Johannesburg points finger at NGOs and foreign nationals after deadly fire
Joburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda brief media at the scene of a fire in a multi-storey building in the inner city on the corner of Alberts and Delvers street on 31 August 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

The Johannesburg building where at least 74 people died in a fire on Thursday was a provincial government shelter for women and children before ‘some challenges were encountered’. Yet the city blamed NGOs and foreign nationals for the devastating blaze.

Nearly five years ago, a bogus landlord was jailed for illegally collecting rent from tenants at the City of Johannesburg’s building at 80 Albert Street where more than 140 undocumented foreign nationals lived.   

This grew to more than 200 families, who illegally occupied the five-storey building, which was engulfed by fire on Thursday. Seventy-four people died in the blaze, a figure that could rise as dozens of injured residents receive treatment. 

During the apartheid era, the building was used to administer pass laws. After that, it was leased to the provincial Department of Social Development and turned into the Usindiso Shelter for Women and Children, but by 2017 it had become derelict.

It is one of 57 hijacked buildings that the Johannesburg Property Owners’ and Managers’ Association has identified and repeatedly lobbied the city to act on, with calls for it to be converted into a heritage site.  

The City of Johannesburg manager, Floyd Brink, said: “At the conclusion of the [Department of Social Development’s] lease, some challenges were encountered with the occupants and, as a result of the hostilities and stalemate, the building was invaded and hijacked.”     

One of the reasons the City did not implement plans to tackle Johannesburg’s hijacked buildings was that a new political leadership  instituted an investigation into the Problematic Properties task team, which was part of an anti-corruption unit called Group Forensics and Investigations Services (GFIS), Daily Maverick’s Ferial Haffajee reported.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Joburg fire: City shuttered team meant to clean up blaze building 

The covered bodies of the victims of a fire at the five-storey building in the city centre are gathered in a street nearby in Johannesburg, South Africa, 31 August 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

Fire crews and emergency staff stand next to the covered bodies of the victims as they gather at the site of a fire that broke out at the five-storey building in the city centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, 31 August 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Kim Ludbrook)

City officials apportion blame 

Throughout the day, officials seemed to suggest that the catastrophe could have been averted had it not been for civil society organisations that often drag the city to court over “illegal evictions”.

One of the officials with this view is the MMC for transport, Kenny Kunene, who served as the acting executive mayor for one weekend in May. On the top of his agenda were hijacked and illegally occupied buildings. 

“We have to arrest this situation because it is spreading like a disease throughout the city,” Kunene said on Thursday.

Kunene proposed two solutions:  

  • “We need to amend the law on evictions because it protects criminals and requires those who have wronged the victims to spend money on legal fees.”
  • “Mass deportation of illegal immigrants who are staying in these buildings that are taking rent. We must arrest and mass-deport all of them; only then you will see a cleaner Johannesburg, the buildings being available and getting them into health standards and the city generating revenue. At the moment, the city is losing water and electricity to these criminals.”

The shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, censured Kunene, saying: “We call on all people of good conscience to oppose this sickening xenophobia clearly, directly and bravely, and to work to build the unity of the oppressed across South Africa.

“We demand that the politicians and the state accept responsibility for this disaster and commit themselves to ensuring decent and safe living conditions for all.”   

Council Speaker Colleen Makhubele appeared to blame civil society organisations like the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri), which often litigates against the illegal removal of people without alternative accommodation. 

“Why would you choose a course to fight for criminality? It doesn’t make sense to us. They need to find another course and allow the city to work. If we do not take over these hijacked buildings, we are never going to be able to clean up the city and have the programme to reignite the city because at every corner we are met with this resistance and the criminals hide behind this kind of support,” Makhubele said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Images of heartbreak, death and dying from the Johannesburg fire

Seri responded, “Seri has never litigated against the City of Johannesburg in relation to this building … However, Seri has consistently tried to engage the city to improve conditions in its shelters, to no avail. 

“To shift the blame to NGOs, as people speaking for the city are currently doing, speaks to the municipality’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the inner-city housing crisis.”  

Abahlali baseMjondolo said, “We stand with the progressive lawyers who work with and for the poor. The statements by politicians like Colleen Makhubele … are disgraceful and an affront to logic and to human decency.”

Emergency personnel about to transport one of the survivers outside the burnt building. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Bodies of victims of the fire disaster at a five-storey building in Johannesburg’s central business district on 31 August 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Papi Morake)

‘Dereliction of duty’

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said that because the city had had a lease at the property, “it cannot absolve itself from its dereliction of duty”.

“To blame organisations such as Seri for this incident is beyond shocking. Civil society organisations did not rule on matters before the courts, the judiciary did. Perhaps a closer reading of the judgments will help the politicians who now want to escape responsibility by blaming NGOs for their failures.

“At the heart of this issue is a growing housing crisis for which there does not appear to be a plan that addresses it on the scale needed. This crisis, coupled with a poorly managed and dysfunctional city, has left building owners at the mercy of building hijackers and other criminal syndicates.”

ActionSA’s president, Herman Mashaba, said the state should be charged with culpable homicide as the tragedy could have been avoided.

Mashaba is a former Johannesburg mayor who established the GFIS. As part of his inner-city renewal programme, authorities conducted raids on buildings. The raids were later declared unlawful.

“ActionSA believes that in 29 years of democracy it is completely unacceptable that people are forced to live in buildings which are unsanitary and a clear fire danger, while they are illegally extorted by mafia-like landlords. 

“The South African government should take responsibility for bringing the City of Johannesburg to a situation where lawlessness is allowed to proliferate and should take urgent action to avoid similar incidents from happening in other buildings in the city,” Mashaba said.

Visiting the scene on Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “We are not here to blame anyone. This incident calls on all of us, from the emergency services and other entities of government, to community-based organisations, to reach out to survivors to help restore people’s physical and psychological wellbeing, and to offer all material help residents may need.”

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said a commission of inquiry would be established to investigate the fire and the issue of hijacked buildings in Johannesburg.

Helpline

A call centre has been set up to help families locate missing people or bodies. The numbers are: 0800 203 886, 011 241 5767 and 011 355 3048. The bodies have been taken to Diepkloof mortuary and the survivors to Helen Joseph, Charlotte Maxeke, Chris Hani Baragwanath, Tembisa Provincial and South Rand hospitals. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Ben Harper says:

    Proudly brought to you by the anc

  • Niek Joubert says:

    It is so typical of today’s spirit of socialism and tolerance of criminals that action is preached after a disaster like this (if any action will be taken). I remember how Herman Mashaba was vilified as an extremist when he pleaded for action to clean up the inner city, because it is more politically correct to place a plaster on the wound, like Ramaphosa would typically do.

    • Teann P says:

      Since you don’t know what the definition is –

      noun: socialism
      a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

      • Steve Davidson says:

        Much like Hitler talking about ‘National Socialism’. Talk about missing the point.

        • Johann Olivier says:

          Thank YOU. This is more of the dumbing down of society. If we had a truly socialist democratic state (vs the Kakistocracy)…as they have in the Euro Zone…this society would be so much better. Too many ignoramuses toss around socialism with abandon…proving themselves to be ignorant.

  • Robert Pegg says:

    Another commission of enquiry that will never be finished, like the fire where 3 firefighters lost their lives, the tanker fire in Boksburg, and the parliament buildings fire in Capetown.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    As usual with the ANC and its puppets, they will blame anyone but themselves for the disgusting state of Johannesburg (and every other city and town they’ve ruined). There is not one person in that Mayco who has any ability, any track record or any desire to improve this city – just playing the sleazy game of thrones of patronage politics, with Colleen Makhubele being the most depraved of the lot. When Panyaza Lesufi rubber stamped two village idiots in a row from Al Jama-ah to be the mayor simply so his party could feast at the trough, he openly and disdainfully gave the citizens of Joburg the middle finger: it’s time that this collection of useless thieves was slammed in jail and left to rot.

  • nhleksvenison says:

    oooh Panyaza another commission of inquiry to investigate the fire nogal!

  • Denise Smit says:

    P Lesufi commission of enquiry will be the same as Colin Maile enquiry into Alex Mafia – less than nothing will come of it . Cover up of ANC as he did with school Covid corruption to protect himself. ANC is a disgrace. What a beautifull City it once was and now just a shell of rubbish left over. D Smit

  • Brian Cotter says:

    “while they are illegally extorted by mafia-like landlords. ”
    This is Johannesburg, what about Pretoria and Durban.
    Is it the same?

  • David Walker says:

    There is an ongoing population explosion in the countries to the north of South Africa. Just to use the DRC as an example: It has added an extra 50 million people to its population in just the last 20 years. Each woman still has an average of six children. There are very few economic opportunities in the DRC. So people will look to leave and move north to Europe or south to SA. We are either going to have to seal our borders or build millions upon millions of houses.

    • Peter Holmes says:

      David, I agree. If First World countries (USA, UK) cannot keep their borders sealed, then how will we? This terrible tragedy is simply the end result of an intractable problem. A South Africa becomes poorer, and people from north of our borders move in, what we have witnessed over the past 48 hours will simply occur again and again. The future looks bleak; whoever governs SA from 2024 onwards will be faced with the same intractable issues.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Nah. The news will get out. Gangster state. No power. Water ‘iffy’ at best. Governance non-existent. Bigger potholes than home. Life nasty, brutish & short. Sounds like home, so why not just stay … or head for the Med & try for the EU.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    My heart is very sore for the deaths of each one of these people, even more so for the children who died. But it must be said: until the voters of SA make the link in their minds that ALL of these disasters and deaths are directly and fully caused by the incompetent and crooks of the ANC and EFF, (not to mention the DA,) people will continue to die. The politicians must look at their faces in the mirror and weep at the tragedy the have created. Of course, they won’t, and thousands more people will die. One needs to remember that the whole of the Arab Spring was started by a young man, a frustrated, poor vegetable seller who set himself alight. If they don’t voluntarily resign, then the ANC must be forcibly removed, for their version of democracy has failed miserably. And yes, I am suggesting a coup.

    • Steve Davidson says:

      Please don’t mention the DA. Assuming you don’t live down in the Cape maybe get off your backside and come down here and find out what a great job they’re doing despite the interference and nuisance caused by the other two, especially the ANC.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      May we assume you’ll be the catalyst? … the vegetable seller?

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    A commission of Inquiry will establish that CoJ was responsible for not ensuring that derelict buildings were properly sealed or should have been imploded. Accepting the fact that some are heritage sites should have been correctly treated as such and maintained. the Inquiry will find that CoJ failed miserably in its duty in providing housing and instead of playing politics with peoples lives and rates, every party in Council should be held responsible. the INquiry should fire the whole counicil never allowing them to hold public office again. I can dream of course!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hermann Funk says:

    This is an ideal situation for the President to show leadership. But as usual, all Ramaphosa shows is lack of backbone and spewing trivialities.

  • Wessel M says:

    Once again SA politicians will do what they do best, establish a commission of enquiry and obfuscate until the next news cycle to avoid blame for their actions or inactions.
    In the meantime people die. “Nero fiddles, while Rome burns”

  • Paul T says:

    Another reason for millions of undocumented immigrants cramming into Jhb buildings and elsewhere is the continued abuse of Zimbabwe by ZanuPF, supported by the ANC government. These people are crammed into these buildings because they are desperate, and even the suffering they endure here is better than the hopelessness at home. It is not in the ANCs interest to help restore democracy in Zim because they face the same prospect of the loss of power in SA.

  • Jennifer D says:

    The underlying problem is that millions of people living below the breadline, in sub Saharan Africa, are flooding to our cities. With the economic impact of COVID and food prices increasing, we will see further catastrophes like this. The ANC government doesn’t have the energy to deal with the hijacked buildings, let alone if an NGO tells them to find alternate accommodation for illegal immigrants. We have multiple criminal acts which western countries would be unlikely to tolerate – illegal immigration into SA, occupying buildings illegally, hijacking buildings and ANC cadre accepting salaries for work never done. This is a recipe for disaster. NGOs preventing a lily livered law enforcement team to remove illegal immigrants exacerbate the problem and should spend their time trying to find actual solutions instead of fighting to preserve a dangerous situation. So whilst the ANC have accountability, so do the NGOs who fought to maintain the situation – and they too should be held accountable.

    • Mario de Abreu says:

      100% agree Jennifer

    • Bruce Q says:

      Seriously Jennifer?
      “The ANC government doesn’t have the energy…”
      Seriously?
      What they don’t have is:
      Ability.
      Honour.
      Intelligence.
      Vision.
      Accountability.
      Or any of the other qualities that one needs to govern a country.
      You say: “So whilst the ANC have accountability…”
      SERIOUSLY??
      WHEN HAVE THE ANC BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANYTHING?
      What they do have is:
      GREED, GREED AND MORE GREED.

  • Michael Clark says:

    Another disaster for Panyaza Lesufi who clearly has been unable to grasp the problems of Johannesburg, but not surprised! He lost/donated/paid/redirected R431m as MEC for education and to this day surprise surprise, not one rand recovered, but I will bet that the sale of luxury car suddenly went up!

  • Mario de Abreu says:

    As a rule I never support the ANC or the rubbish they spew but in this instance I must agree with Kenny Kunene and Colleen Makhubele. All these illegal migrants need to be rounded up and deported. Do you think this kind of behaviour would be tolerated anywhere else in a first world? Why should we be any different? Also, 100% agree that civil society organisations put their nose in where its not warranted. They are the sole reason why so many buildings in JHB have been hijacked. What do you think the outcome would be if these squatters tried this trick in China, Russia or Zimbabwe? They would have been shot, simple and klaar. Civil society organisations are also the reason why there are so many criminals free rather than in jail. They seem to forget the pain and suffering of the victims, focussing instead on the well being of criminals. Again, these societys do not exist in any 3rd world countries and with good reason.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Firstly, not all the occupants are illegal immigrants – that’s just a buck-passing piece of xenophobic claptrap from Makhubele (and Kunene before her). Second, the onus is on the City of Johannesburg to ensure that municipal bylaws are maintained: the ANC, directly and through its cadre deployment and corruption, has ignored this growing crisis for decades, and now cries illegal immigration? This tragedy is a direct result of the ANC having absolutely no ability to plan for the future, to do routine maintenance, to enforce bylaws – basically they have no ability to govern, at any level whatsoever. There was an article (in Moneyweb, I think) yesterday about how municipal taxes have soared over the last 15 years, with the bulk of that money spent on civil service salaries and an increasingly reduced percentage on routine maintenance of the city (and others in SA). This tragedy is a direct result of that – not illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants are not responsible for the potholes, for the burst water pipes, for the collapsed stormwater drains, for the lack of an adequate firefighting service, for lack of water at hospitals, for hospitals burning down or any of the other collapsed services in Johannesburg: the ANC is 100% to blame, along with their fellow trough-swillers in the EFF, Al Jama-ah, PA, can’t-COPE and assorted other hangers-on who contribute nothing to our city.

      • Johann Eybers says:

        Absolutely nailed it on the head Dee Bee

      • Theresa Avenant says:

        Well said Dee Bee. We have a Constitution that guarantees the right to housing. We have a legal system to support Constitutional rights. The municipality, or anyone else, does not have the right to evict people from their homes without a Court Order. These people are human beings. One cannot simply assume that they are criminals. They need to exercise their constitutional right to have their say in Court. The municipality has an obligation to provide alternative accommodation where an evicted person is unable to find it. Some sort of Central government is needed to make sure that the Legal System works and that every citizen, legal immigrant or juristic body, both honours their obligations and has their rights protected. The current government does not fit the bill. There seems to be a global movement in favour of developing a new way to develop and protect a country without government. Out of my depth on the last remark but I have spoken to people who are well read in this arena (at least at Masters level). South Africa just cannot continue as it is.

    • Vincent L says:

      ….and may I ask, when you last hired an immigrant did you check his/her immigration status with Home Affairs? Just asking.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    Let none of us forget the lives that have been lost in the midst of this disaster. Nor indeed the bravery of the first responders!
    We have laws in South Africa. Good laws that seek to protect our most vulnerable. We also have laws which govern immigration. Laws which uphold & protect property rights.
    Laws & the rights of people are however only as good as the States ability to administer, police, protect & uphold laws & rights.
    What happened in the City of Johannesburg yesterday – the loss of so many lives – can only be attributed to one thing; Failure
    It is failure at both a local & national level & is (in my opinion at least) an inevitable consequence of their being no separation of power & influence between politics & your civil service institutions (be it law enforcement, home affairs, the Jhb Property Company etc.
    I have no interest & it will serve none of us (especially the families of the deceased) to have a commission of inquiry. That commission will only focus on the ‘micro causes’ specific to a building on a particular day. It will not address the root cause of so many of our problems which is the politicization of the institutions meant to work for the people but which has been re-purposed to serve the needs of party political interests

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      Spot on! The politicisation of our civil service is the key to almost all degradation in our cities and towns.

      • Ellis Mortimer says:

        The frightening thing is that there are many, many more overcrowded buildings in the CBD and Hillbrow which are disasters waiting to happen. The powers that be don’t know what the word “proactive” means. So as sad as it may be, we can expect to see the same thing happening again in the near future

  • Frank Fox says:

    “I am not the one”, how often do we hear that? It is time for accountability at government level. To try and shift the blame to those who try and hold officials accountable is shameful, but unfortunately what we have come to expect from government.

  • Alpha Sithole says:

    This is just another example of poor governance from national to provincial to municipal. Anyone could foresee this fire happening and it is very likely to happen again – this is just one of many illegally occupied non-compliant buildings in Jhb. By the way, who came up with the term “high-jacked” building?

  • David Walker says:

    There is an ongoing population explosion in the countries to the north of South Africa. Just to use the DRC as an example: It has added an extra 50 million people to its population in just the last 20 years. Each woman still has an average of six children. There are very few economic opportunities in the DRC. So people will look to leave and move north to Europe or south to SA. We are either going to have to seal our borders or build millions upon millions of houses.

  • mpotgieter1 says:

    “I am shocked” – Surprised that the ANC did not put the blame on Jan van Riebeeck again… ANC should start taking accountability for all their failed policies resulting in the level of degradation we are seeing all over the country, rather than blaming others for their failure.

  • Dave Sheldon says:

    Surely at the heart of this isue is that the residents are undocumented – no rights and no protection from our state and prone to exploitation from these landlords. Perhaps the “home affairs” minister could get his house in order asap. People with rights would then be able to get the authorities to step in before tragedies of his sort occur.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      The Home Affairs idiot is the one who oversaw the collapse of our healthcare system when he was that Minister. An abject, useless failure of a minister, like almost all of those from the ANC.

  • Gary De Sousa says:

    Convert the buildings one at a time to proper living apartments with controls etc,its done in all civilized cities .

  • No, for once the City must be held accountable. People are appointed and paid at rate payes expense to manage and prevent just this kind of situation.
    Money is pocketed, lifestyles are lived, jobs are not done, over 70 people died a grisly death.

    This time heads need to roll. Take them to court if necessary.

  • Michael Whitaker says:

    Who is entirely to blame for this?
    Six words: BEE policies, CADRE deployment, NO accountability.
    I hope that Ramaphala was driven along the old DeVilliers Street, to see all the vendors crowded on the pavements. I understand that Joburg Council rents out the pavements to the stall owners. And by the way you will need a 4 x 4 to negotiate the amateur repair work. ‘Eish, no maaany!’

    • Bob Dubery says:

      Allocated trading spaces, on specific streets (EG) the corridor from the station, along Joubert street, are indeed licenced out to vendors. They get a certain space and must stick to that so as not to obstruct the passage of pedestrians. This gives small traders a chance to make a living within some sort of regulatory frame work.

      • Malcolm Mitchell says:

        Everyone is pointing fingers at everybody else for this tragedy. However essentially the problem relates to the inability of the ANC to properly manage a country faced with a multitude of problems during its nearly 3 decades reign. This is not an easy task but as the DA is showing in the WC the problem can be managed “a bite at a time”.

  • Ruby Delahunt says:

    It is vile to see people blaming foreign nationals for this horrific tragedy. What power do they hold? This is squarely a governmental issue, and a despicable one at that. Not to say the city should not be allowed to seize and deal with these hijacked buildings, but does anyone believe that is actually going to happen, with the state of the city council as it is?? The city is desperately attempting to evade responsibility by punching down, and it is frankly disgusting. I’ll not be forgetting who pointed fingers come election time.

    • D'Esprit Dan says:

      100%. The ANC is absolutely callous and uncaring at every level. Every time a Minister or MEC is in the crosshairs for doing a lousy job (or nothing at all), they blame foreigners, whites, apartheid, the West, NGOs, civil society – anything to avoid taking responsibility. Thus is by some distance the most disgusting immoral regime we’ve had since 1994. This ANC has a deep-seated, seething, arrogant hatred for anyone outside of the rich confines of their own elite.

      • Johann Olivier says:

        Well … there is a lot going on in Europe. The ANC has to prioritise. How on earth can Squirrell & Co. be expected to settle that difficult Ukrainian challenge if they’re bogged down with … with … utility issues in South Africa? Anyway. Who’d not rather have a suite where the streets are safe (the best shopping!), the food epicurean & the lights shine so brightly. Really, people??

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    The simple state of affairs is that culpability for this tragedy lies jointly with the “landlords” taking rent with no responsibility, and the city for having neither the will nor determination to ensure the safety of people living in the city!
    Foreigners and NGOs are not to blame

  • Bob Dubery says:

    The administration of Johannesburg has been a revolving door. So two things happen (OK, more than two, but two that seem relevant here).
    1) Whichever alliance is in charge spends most of their time keeping that alliance together
    2) Nobody gets a chance to formulate a policy and put it into action.

    And so the citizens of Johannesburg and the running of the City are no longer priorities and everything that isn’t actively hollowed out is rudderless.

    We also have a bunch sitting in council who bring to mind the words I read in a Stephen King novel some years ago: “If brains was gunpowder, they couldn’t blow their noses.”

  • I’m sure that they will blame the white people for this tragedy

  • Jurie Welman says:

    We must go back to the root causes. Why do we have all these illegal immigrants in SA? It starts with SA not living up t their oversight responsibilities as far as their African Neighbours are concerned. The recent election in Zimbabwe is a good example. Everyone knows that election was not free and fair but the government kept quiet. If Zimbabwe returns to normal, a great deal of the illegal immigrant will return home. The same applies to the rest of Africa.
    The next issue is endemic corruption which is tolerated with impunity by government, criminals and incompetent people employed, not to do a proper job, but to be party to the looting spree. The job is only a way to camouflage the looting because there is no real intend to achieve objectives. If this sounds harsh, explain why all these motions on no confidence at municipal level when anyone with a little bit of a brain will know that such an environment, combined with the caliber of people who were put forward, can never ever deliver the services required in the complex environment of a R80bn organization. As we have seen, everything has started imploding.
    In conclusion, if the country is run by dishonest idiots, they will kill innocent people as we have seen here.

  • David Katz says:

    Every time that something happens in Johannesburg it is blamed on foreign nationals. This is why we have xenophobic citizens.

  • Kelsey Boyce says:

    The ANC – “Another Never ending Commission”.

  • Bruce Q says:

    For goodness sake, are we still surprised that our utterly useless politicians point the blame at anyone and everyone but themselves.
    When will the voting public of this benighted country see what is so clearly obvious:
    This sad country has been (almost) totally destroyed by the government and it’s mindless policies.
    They are ignorant, arrogant and utterly useless. No! They are worse than useless.
    C’mon South Africa, vote these sods out and let someone else have a go.
    Enough is enough.
    The ANC must go!

  • Chris 123 says:

    Another ANC success story nothing built, nothing maintained no problem, lots of Gucci shoes and Range Rovers.

  • Charles du Sautoy says:

    In July 2020, the Joburg high court found that the raids that Herman Mashaba had initiated were unconstitutional. Among the reasons reported* was that “The SAPS was found not to have used the powers on cordon searches to restore public order and ensure public safety as the law allows”. The tragic irony is that whatever Mashaba’s motives were (and he appeared to me to be a xenophobe), had the process been allowed to continue, perhaps these 74 people would not have died.
    (*Marianne Merten; “Warrantless searches declared unconstitutional”; DM; 3rd July 2020.)

  • Manfred Hasewinkel says:

    A black person wrote the article about the fate of a group of black people in Johannesburg. Only black people are mentioned and/or quoted in the article. Yet it appears that only white people comment. There are many comments with some thoughtful, some less so. More than 80% of the South African population are black. Where are their opinions, dear DM?

  • Denise Smit says:

    Hasewinkel, they are reading the Sowetan not DM. Dee minister Zulu yesterday said apartheid is to blaim – 30 years was not enough to fix things. Colleen Makhubele first blaimed the foreigners then she had a prair session with the clergy supporting them the whole time trying to get the attention of the cameras. D Smit

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Maybe the DA has a point in wanting a new election, because it is clear that neither the current ruling executive nor the Municipal Manager is doing their jobs. It is their job to see that the residents are safe and they are getting paid to enforce the by-laws. They should all be relieved of their positions. Maybe MMC Kunene has a point in that the law should be changed to exclude illegal immigrants from the protection of the PIE Act, because it is high time that we start to assert the law in SA, but why has it not been done decades ago already? Besides, I believe it is since the ANC took over government and during the time that they controlled Johannesburg that these problems started to develop. After all, all too often the ANC is more supportive of the criminals than the law abiding citizens.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted