Cape York residents taken in by the City after devastating fire

The City of Johannesburg’s MMC for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse, said the recent ‘human tragedy’ where seven people lost their lives in a hijacked building fire in the inner city, is truly regrettable.

Almost 350 people have, as a result, been displaced, and Phalatse said although the City has limited resources, it is making every effort to ensure that these residents are taken care of.

READ: Cause of hijacked building fire to be investigated 

“Our Department of Social Development and the Disaster Management Unit have done an assessment of all the affected citizens. Bread and soup have been provided for supper by Social Development, breakfast, lunch and supper are supplied by the Food Bank and Meals on Wheels and hygiene packs were also mobilised through the Tutsi Foundation.”

Phalatse also said 390 blankets have already been distributed. Social workers within the department have also been providing counselling for those affected.

“At present, we have provided alternative accommodation in tents on land near Wembley Stadium, and have identified and confirmed shelters for those in need. We have also consulted with City Power for temporary lighting, as well as with Joburg Water for the provision of water and sanitation services.”

The Cape York building is one of over 85 abandoned and hijacked buildings in the inner city. Phalatse said the building, which she said is privately owned, has been sealed off since it was declared unsafe and unsanitary, residents will not be able to re-enter.

“JMPD and the police are constantly monitoring the area, and the Department of Home Affairs’ immigration control has been contacted to assist with undocumented persons affected by the fire.

“Although the City has limited space, we have allocated R219 million of our adjustment budget to the Johannesburg Social Housing Company to facilitate the transformation of these buildings into low cost housing for our residents. We have also set aside R9.5 million for the provision of shelters for our displaced people. In the next financial year, we also plan to develop 200 transitional housing units in the inner City, and 1 000 in the medium term.”


Mayor Herman Mashaba arranged a bus ride through the inner-city last year. He asked officials who joined the trip many questions about Joburg’s hijacked buildings.

Since taking office, the inner city has become a special project for Mayor Herman Mashaba. He has made oversight visits and consulted with various departments to come up with solutions to counter the decay, faced by the inner city.The Urban Development Zone tax incentive, which was announced in 2003, is still the City’s foot to stand on when convincing and enticing potential investors to invest in the once-vibrant inner city.


City: Investors should head inner city tax incentive 

WATCH: Joburg at night – the saddest story of all 

Chantelle Fourie
Metro Reporter

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