NGOs to blame for Joburg building fire – Kenny Kunene Mr Kenny Kunene

Laurel Murangaridzirayi, [email protected]

FORMER acting Mayor of Johannesburg, Mr Kenny Kunene has blamed the people reside in ‘hijacked buildings’ in the city centre and rights group for the death of 74 people in a fire on Wednesday.

The Johannesburg Transport MCC, said when he tried driving the people out of the buildings, he was met with legal action from rights groups.

During an interview with the media on Thursday outside the building where the tragedy occurred, Mr Kenny Kunene said he was attacked when he tried to give solutions to the hijacked buildings.

“Unfortunately, I was attacked by media houses and they claimed I had no Ubuntu and I want to evict people,” he said.

“Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) vowed to take him to court if he evicted the people living in these buildings whilst people claimed the NGOs were working with imposters controlling these hijacked buildings.”

“They are NGOs that threatened to take me to court but the people living in the buildings were telling me that some of these NGOs are actually paid by hijack syndicates, so that whenever government reacts and what’s to evict, they must take government to court on an urgent basis on the basis that they say there is no alternative organisation,” said Mr Kunene.

At least 74 people, including a one-year-old baby, have been confirmed dead in a devastating blaze that broke out inside a five-story building in central Johannesburg on Thursday morning.

Some of the people living in a maze of shacks and other makeshift structures inside the building threw themselves out of windows to escape the fire – one of the worst in South Africa’s history.

Reports suggest that as many as 200 people lived in the building, which was an “informal settlement” housing homeless people while they looked for permanent accommodation.

Officials on Thursday said some of the victims may have been renting rooms in the building from criminal gangs.

Seven of the victims were children, including a one-year-old, according to an emergency services spokesperson.

Around 52 people have been injured in the fire in Marshalltown and a search-and-recovery operation is underway as authorities said they were expecting the death toll to rise.

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