Build One South Africa (Bosa) has rejected Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s move to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the deadly fire at a building in Marshalltown that claimed at least 77 lives and left countless more injured.
According to Bosa, for justice to prevail, there must be a full criminal investigation into those responsible for hijacking the building and causing the fire through negligent management of the building and failure to place the appropriate fire prevention protocols and equipment in the building.
"There exists prima facie evidence of culpable homicide, and there is a need to hold the people who hijacked the building and the politicians who enabled the hijacking of the building accountable. There were clear acts of negligence which forseeably led to the death of 77 people," said the independent political party, led by Mmusi Maimane.
On Monday, Lesufi announced that Justice Sisi Khampepe will chair a commission of inquiry into the deadly Marshalltown fire. The now-retired South African Constitutional Court judge will be assisted by advocates Thulani Makhubela and Vuyelwa Mathilda Mabena.
Lesufi explained that the commission will investigate the prevalence of hijacked buildings in Johannesburg, what caused the fatal fire, and who should be held accountable for the tragedy.
However, Bosa said that commissions of inquiry did not ensure justice and accountability and have instead proven to be ineffective and expensive, resulting in justice being delayed or denied. It further stated that taxpayers were abused in this process.
"One has only to reference the tragic Life Esidimeni Commission, as well as the Marikana, Arms Deal, and State Capture commissions, to conclude that such weighty legal instruments are not just ineffective.
"There are massive drains on taxpayers and result in zero compensation to the victims and their families—only exacerbated trauma, greater personal expense, and no enactment of justice at all for the certifiable crimes committed by government functionaries.
“The surest way to pursue justice for the 77 lives lost is to abandon this costly delaying tactic and hand the matter over to the police for a swift and decisive investigation that results in accountability for those at fault,” Bosa said.