IN PICTURES: President Cyril Ramaphosa visits ruins of deadly Joburg CBD fire building

Published Sep 1, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa postponed a television address to the nation on Thursday to visit the scene at Marshalltown in Johannesburg where a fire broke out in a "hijacked" building that at last count, claimed the lives of 74 people.

Ramaphosa was briefed by City of Joburg officials on the situation before touring the ruins of the hijacked building.

Ramaphosa was expected to address the nation on the outcomes of he outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit and on the outcome of the panel investigation into the docking of the Lady R vessel in South Africa.

Ramaphosa said the Joburg fire must be a lesson, wake up call for the government and other role-players to restore the rights of people.

He said the red-tape often makes it difficult for government to do the right things at the right time.

"There are processes that government need to embark upon, from city, provincial and national level that we find are restrictive impediments that stand in the way, like in this situation.

“When a building is condemned, we go through too many regulatory processes that can lead to situations like this. Parliament needs to ensure that we don't go through too many rules that hold us back from doing right by our people," Ramaphosa said.

There was a heavy police presence in Marshalltown on Friday as emergency services continued to wade through the building.

As the heat from Thursday’s fire cooled, authorities were expected on Friday to send cadaver dogs into the building to search for the remains of people who have been declared missing by their loved ones.

The death toll is expected to rise in the coming hours.