Building on fire in Johannesburg CBD, firefighter dies after falling from 23rd floor

A fire has broken out at the Gauteng provincial Department of Health, resulting in the death of three firefighters.

One died after falling from the 23rd floor.

MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo has confirmed the deaths of two more.

Four were rescued earlier.

The fire broke out on the top floor of the building, which is situated in Johannesburg’s CBD.

The SAPS has tweeted that SAPS Airwing is assisting the rescue efforts, and has rescued two.

The City of Johannesburg Department of Public Safety has tweeted that the fire has been contained.

According to Johannesburg EMS they had just managed to gain control of another fire at Kya Sands, which had been burning since 5am this morning.

According to Times Select, Fire Protection Magazine revealed that fires cost South Africa R3-billion over the past year, versus R1.6-billion in 2013.

My Take

Jack Bloom of the DA told IOL that workers in the building have long complained about it being unsafe.

“There are allegations that the building is condemned and that it contravenes health and safety regulations,” Bloom told them over the phone.

According to Mamabolo the building was non-compliant, and was rated 21%.

In February the department had halted new building projects, due to the fact that it owed suppliers over R6.5 billion according to Business LIVE.

The Daily Maverick reported in August that the Sheriff had attached the building’s furniture due to its failure to pay court ordered damages on a medical negligence case.

I’m a bit inclined to believe Bloom on this – that the building was very likely in need of major renovations, but due to poor financial management the money wasn’t there to do it.

So here is the question: Where did the money go? Well lets look at the former health MEC’s and see how good they were:

According to IOL, R162 million went to a law firm connected to former MEC Qedani Mahlangu. Of course given her role in the Life Esidimeni scandal, it is no surprise that she had to call some lawyers in.

According to News24 Her predecessor Hope Papo in May responded to anger over Mahlangu’s handling of that scandal, by slamming the DA for playing political football.

Because you know, what is important when a decision leads to 144 deaths, is that the opposition don’t point out that isn’t the sort of decision you’d brag about on your CV.

Go back further and you get Brian Hlongwa. EWN reported in June that a Special Investigations Unit report found corrupt and fraudulent dealings worth R1.2 billion occurred his tenure in the position between 2006 and 2009.

Of course the ANC was so horrified by this, that both Mahlangu and Hlongwa both ended up on its provincial executive committee.

Where did the money go? Gee, I wonder.


One thought on “Building on fire in Johannesburg CBD, firefighter dies after falling from 23rd floor”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: