The nine-storey block of flats on the corner of Nugget and Jeppe streets in the CBD a day after it caught fire, killing seven people. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ANA pictures

Johannesburg - Residents of the hijacked Cape York building were back in the nine-storey block of flats in the Joburg CBD a day after it caught fire, killing seven residents.

On Thursday, it appeared to be business as usual in the building on the corner of Nugget and Jeppe streets, which is notorious for prostitution and drug abuse.

The devastating fire was allegedly started by an angry resident who had apparently lost out on a room.

Although the building was deemed unsafe and inaccessible due to an ongoing investigation, some of the residents were seen entering and leaving.

They claim to have no alternative accommodation.

According to the ward councillor, Nokuthula Xaba, the building was a crime scene and nobody was allowed access.

She added that the nature of the crime required the building to be inaccessible for a minimum of three days.

The forced evictions shortly after Wednesday’s fire displaced many residents, including mothers with young children who spent the night out on the cold pavement in Goud Street.

Enraged occupants said they were worried about their safety.

One resident, Constance Lubando, said she was unable to find another place to stay and was forced to return to the building.

“It’s not safe out here and our property is being looted by thieves,” she said.

A frustrated mother-of-three said she was infuriated that her family had to spend a cold night on the streets while other residents illegally occupied the building.

“I am tired because my kids and I slept outside while others slept inside,” she said.

Several organisations, such as the SA Social Services Agency, Foodbank SA and the Adventist Community Service, were present to offer aid in the form of meals and blankets.

The social development agency distributed blankets to several mothers and babies who had been affected.

Xaba said the City of Joburg must take over finding the displaced families accommodation.

She implored people to donate food, clothes and blankets for the destitute.

“We need open hands; help, help please,” she pleaded.

The Star