South African parliament to conduct investigation into deadly Johannesburg fire
The South African parliament has said it will conduct investigation into the deadly Johannesburg fire.
The fire that engulfed a five-story building in the Johannesburg CBD early Thursday morning has left at least 77 people dead and dozens more injured.
"The Presiding Officers of Parliament, Speaker Ms. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Chairperson Mr. Amos Masondo, have committed to a parliamentary intervention in response to the Johannesburg tragic fire disaster that has resulted in multiple fatalities, injuries and the displacement of over 300 people," said a statement issued here by the South African parliament on Saturday.
It said that relevant oversight committees of the parliament will be immediately assigned to "oversee both the immediate and long-term efforts of various branches of government in response to this disaster."
According to the statement, the core of the envisaged assessment is to look at the current state of the so-called "hijacked buildings," like the one in the Johannesburg fire.
Old blocks, abandoned by their owners or the city authorities, are full of families often paying rent to criminal gangs who run them. The buildings, which lack running water, toilets or a legal electricity connection, are then said to have been "hijacked."
Furthermore, the parliament statement said "the assigned committees will also investigate the conditions of both private and government-owned buildings, focusing on their compliance with safety regulations."
"This effort aims to identify any gaps and ensure appropriate intervention to address deficiencies that could jeopardize the safety and lives of residents," in order to "prevent future incidents, restore public confidence, and drive systemic improvements that enhance overall safety and prevent potential disasters," it said.
In the statement, the South African parliament once again extended its deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in the "tragedy."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all the survivors and bereaved families as they navigate through this challenging time," it added.