Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has appointed a commission of inquiry led by Justice Sisi Khampepe into the Usindiso Building fire in Johannesburg, which claimed the lives of at least 76 people and left scores others injured and homeless.
Justice Khampepe will be joined on the commission by Advocate Thulani Makhubela and Vuyelwa Mathilda Mabena.
“The commission will investigate the prevalence of hijacked buildings in Johannesburg, what caused the deadly blaze in Marshalltown, and who must shoulder total responsibility for this tragedy.
“In Johannesburg, the issue of stolen buildings is becoming a crisis, necessitating drastic action. A thorough intervention is required to ensure that disasters like the Marshalltown fire, one of the deadliest in recent memory, never happen again,” Lesufi said.
The commission’s terms of reference are expected to be gazetted soon, with a report to be produced for the Premier.
Lesufi urged affected residents to come forward and assist the commission in its work.
“The Gauteng government seeks a comprehensive overhaul of all the underlying issues that put the lives of the residents of the province in danger and the commission is the initial step in achieving this objective.
“We urge all affected communities and organisations to make submissions and work with the commission to get to the bottom of this intractable problem of hijacked buildings,” Lesufi said.