Johannesburg - The South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners has expressed concern after yet another Joburg CBD building caught fire over the weekend.
The fire happened in a residential area in Hillbrow on Saturday afternoon.
It came four days after a fire at the SA Revenue Services building in Rissik Street, leaving damages amounting to thousands of rand.
Just last month, 77 people died in a hijacked building in Marshalltown in the Joburg CBD. This means that four fire incidents have occurred in three weeks.
Another building, two blocks from that one, caught fire; fortunately, there were no casualties.
City of Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) spokesperson Nana Radebe-Kgiba confirmed the incident.
“EMS received the call around 4pm about the two-bedroom flat that caught fire in Hillbrow. The fire was extinguished and fortunately no casualties were reported. Fire Safety has conducted preliminary investigations, and it was determined that a stove left unattended was the cause of the fire,” said Radebe-Kgiba.
@CityofJoburgEMS Firefighters are currently responding to a Flat on fire in Hillbrow no injuries reported at this stage the cause of the fire incident is still a subject of investigations @CityofJoburgZA @CoJPublicSafety #JoburgBravest pic.twitter.com/SIcFgzdE8x— Cojems Spokesperson (@RobertMulaudzi) September 23, 2023
The hijacked buildings and fire incidents are giving the government sleepless nights.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi recently announced a commission of inquiry to probe the fire incident that left 77 people dead.
The institute’s CEO, Kululwa Muthwa, said the hijacked and bad buildings in Joburg were a concern.
She said in listening to the news, she heard that the cause of the fire on Saturday was a stove left unattended.
“These are things that happen naturally, accidents, but it still does not relieve our concern about the fires that have been breaking out throughout the city this month and last,” said Muthwa.
Asked if they suspected foul play, she said that would be wild.
“We are not there yet. I think what we would like to see is a scenario where we sit down and try to figure out and be a part of the solution to this. We would hope that it is not foul play because if it is, that would be very irresponsible because we know we are heading towards national elections in 2024. Yeah, we hope that is not the case,” Muthwa said.
She said they were concerned about the threat and the livelihood of the practitioners investing and owning property in the city.
Muthwa added that they were worried by the fire incidents, as they would like to see more investors in the city.
“We do want to see investment in the city. The cities are thriving because we have people who are coming from all over South Africa and from around the globe. When these things happen (fire incidents), it will make the city less attractive for investment; that compromises the value of the investments already in the city and threatens the livelihoods of the businesses that are doing good work in the city.
“So that is at the heart of our concern, and that is why we want to be part of the solution because some of our members have put in a lot of money,” said Muthwa.