South Africa Fire Updates: At Least 73 Dead in Johannesburg Building Blaze

South Africa Fireplace Updates: At Least 73 Useless in Johannesburg Constructing Blaze

John EligonLynsey Chutel

Kabelo Gwamanda, proper, being sworn in as mayor of Johannesburg in Might.Credit score…Joao Silva/The New York Instances

Johannesburg was as soon as a metropolis of dreamers, a gold city that seduced prospectors from throughout hoping to strike it wealthy. Currently, although, town has been one thing of a political punchline, a metropolis the place many residents’ spirits are as darkish because the streetlights.

In Might, after days of brinkmanship and arm twisting, town inaugurated its sixth mayor in 22 months: Kabelo Gwamanda, a first-term metropolis councilor from a political celebration that bought simply 1 % of the vote within the earlier municipal election.

His ascent capped the most recent chapter in a political cleaning soap opera the place mayoral phrases are measured in weeks and months, and the place the lack of council members to stay with a pacesetter has resulted in a municipal mess. Johannesburg residents have been the most important losers.

Whereas political leaders bicker over energy and cliques, exasperated residents typically battle by days with out electrical energy and water, dodge cratered roads and fret about dilapidated buildings, such because the one which caught hearth on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, Mr. Gwamanda was on the scene of the fireplace together with members of town’s coalition authorities. He blamed years of neglect for the situations that led to the blaze, though he vowed that his administration could be accountable.

“This authorities is barely six months previous, and already we face historic challenges,” he stated.

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