On 05 July 2017, the Cape York building in Johannesburg caught fire again, killing 7 people and injuring 7 others. Fires in Inner City buildings and settlements without water, sanitation and electricity are not uncommon, and this is not the first fire in the Cape York building.
In 2013 the City of Johannesburg promised to seek the assistance of NGOs to accommodate those left destitute by a fire. A few months later, the City was ordered to clean up the Cape York building, to provide sanitation services and to ensure that it no longer continued to present a health hazard to neighbouring properties. Instead the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) and a contractor unlawfully evicted residents from the 5th to the 9th floor, demolishing their homes and removing all the windows.
The City has failed to provide meaningful solutions to help the poor who are inadequately housed in the Inner City of Johannesburg. Life threatening conditions in unmanaged, unregulated and un-serviced Inner City buildings must be addressed. Owners of these buildings must be brought to book by the City. Residents seeking basic services can no longer be turned away by the City because they are not property owners.