Cape York building residents to be put in tents following fire

2017-07-08 07:41
The Cape York building in Johannesburg. (Iavan Pijoos)

The Cape York building in Johannesburg. (Iavan Pijoos)

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Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg says they are in talks with the provincial department of human settlements to provide land on which to pitch tents for Cape York building residents displaced after a fire there.

"Before we are able to move those occupying hijacked buildings, it is vital that we identify the occupants living in the building and ensure that we are able to find alternative accommodation for them," city spokesperson Karabo Tledima said on Friday.

The residents of the hijacked building were left stranded on Wednesday after the building caught fire.

Tledima said on Friday that an agreement was reached with the building's owner that previous residents would not be allowed to re-enter the building.

She said the city's Disaster Management Unit was assisting the building's displaced residents with finding alternative accommodation, blankets and food.

Seven people dead

Over 100 people have been living in the hijacked building in the Johannesburg CBD.

On Wednesday, fire-fighters battled to extinguish the blaze.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Nana Radebe said on Wednesday that seven people were confirmed dead.

One jumped from the building and six others died of smoke inhalation.

Radebe at the time said seven others were taken to hospital. Two of the seven had burn wounds to their hands and feet.

More than 50 people were rescued from the building.

Audit

The city was in the process of conducting an audit of all abandoned and hijacked buildings in Johannesburg.

Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday that there were about 85 hijacked buildings.

He was set to visit the building on Saturday afternoon to see the extent of the damage to better direct relief operations going forward.

Tledima said they wanted to turn these buildings into low-cost affordable housing for residents.

"We are collecting data on the occupants living in the buildings, including sex, age and employment status. A consolidated report is currently being compiled by the relevant departments and will include all relevant information on the occupants of the buildings."

Johannesburg faces a major housing backlog estimated at 300 000 units, and an average delivery of only 3 500 housing units per year.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  fires

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