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Joburg CBD Fire: Brazil, Russia and Ukraine convey condolences to victims of blaze, as city comes under scrutiny

Brazil and Russia have paid their respects to the victims involved in the fire that broke out in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday, claiming the lives of 74 people. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African news Agency (ANA)

Brazil and Russia have paid their respects to the victims involved in the fire that broke out in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday, claiming the lives of 74 people. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African news Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 1, 2023


The Brazilian and Russian governments have conveyed their condolences to the victims that were killed, injured and displaced after a fire broke out inside a five storey building in the Johannesburg CBD in the early hours of Thursday.

IOL spoke to Brazilian journalist, Luis Boaventura who shared a message that was sent out by the Brazilian government.

“The Brazilian government learned, with regret, of the fire in a housing estate in the city of Johannesburg, which caused the death of at least 73 people, including seven children, and also left more than 50 injured.

“In solidarity with the families of the victims, the Brazilian government expresses its condolences to the government and the people of South Africa,” Brazil said.

Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, seen arriving in South Africa for the BRICS summit last month, has expressed sympathy to those affected by the fire. Picture: Twitter/RT.COM

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin also called South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to convey his condolences on behalf of the Federation, Sputnik News reported.

The Kremlin reportedly shared a quote from a telephone conversation between Putin and Ramaphosa.

"Dear Mr. President, please accept my sincere condolences on the tragic consequences of the fire in Johannesburg. I ask you to convey words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, as well as wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured," Putin was quoted saying by the Kremlin in Sputnik News.

IOL has also reached out the South African Presidency to confirm if Putin called and is awaiting their comment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his condolences to the people of South Africa. Picture: Twitter/The Krenlin

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also conveyed his condolences.

“Tragic news of a deadly fire in Johannesburg. My heartfelt condolences, as do those of all Ukrainians, go out to President Cyril Ramaphosa and all the victims' friends and family members,” Zelenskyy tweeted.

IOL reported earlier that Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi set up an inquiry committee to investigate the fire that killed 74 people, according to the authorities' latest count.

Lesufi said he was going to work with Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to establish the committee.

“In this regard, I intend to institute a Committee of Inquiry to investigate this deadly inferno, working with the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola. The inquiry will investigate the prevalence of hijacked buildings in the city, who must take responsibility and allow us to get to the real cause of the incident," said Lesufi.

Joburg firefighter douse a fire at a building on the Johannesburg City Centre where a fire rippeds through and claimed the lives of more than 70 people on August 31, 2023. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

The fire comes at a time when Johannesburg’s response to disasters and emergencies has been closely scrutinised, after a LPG gas tanker exploded in December last year, killing 15 people.

The incident happened in Boksburg and was near a hospital and a residential area.

Videos circulating on social media at the time showed people on fire, running away from the scene, while screams could be heard in the background.

In July, the CBD was rocked by an explosion caused by a gas leak, according to the City officials.

One person died and two people were critically injured, while 34 vehicles were severely damaged.