Durban – The Speaker of the Johannesburg Council, councillor Colleen Makhubele, has written to the national and provincial speakers for an oversight visit to the burned building in Marshalltown.
Makhubele said she intended initiating a national and provincial discussion on oversight, accountability, legislative and policy gaps in resolving the endemic challenge of illegal occupation of buildings and hijacked buildings in cities in response to the “wake-up call”.
In a statement, Makhubele penned an invitation to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Amos Masondo, and the Speaker of Provincial Legislatures, Letheng Ntombi Mekgwe, seeking an urgent meeting to brief them on the tragic August 31 fire.
The inferno that claimed 77 lives and left many in hospital and families destitute took place early on Thursday morning.
Makhubele stated that while the oversight committee of the City of Joburg would be conducting oversight on the incident, and the approximately 26 hijacked and abandoned buildings in the inner city, she would like to use the opportunity to initiate discussions on oversight, accountability, and the legislative and policy gaps in resolving the endemic challenge of illegal occupation of buildings and hijacked buildings.
Makhubele said that she intended to mobilise the relevant portfolio committees at provincial and national levels to look into the problem, and to begin to hold the respective departments accountable in all spheres of government.
“It is imperative that oversight structures at national, provincial and local level convene to deliberate on a sustainable long-term solution to resolve this growing pandemic of hijacked buildings in our city. This requires collective and vigorous discussions by our relevant oversight structures or committees.
“This is just one of the first steps as part of the “wake-up call” towards a permanent and sustainable solution to this national crisis that will require a solution on how an appropriations committee in Parliament can assist in the allocation of resources to tackle this problem, including a parliamentary relook into legislation currently applicable in these cases,” Makhubele said.
Makhubele further stated that the tragic incident of the hijacked building in the Joburg CBD that burned down on August 31 claiming lives of more than 70 people, has been a catastrophe, not for only the City, but for South Africa as a whole.
She added that this required not only reactional interventions, but also other more proactive approaches to prevent this sort of incident from recurring.
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