Marshalltown Fire Victims Dismissed by South African Suburban Residents

The victims of Johannesburg’s Marshalltown fire were supposed to be moved to vacant government land near the suburbs of Glenvista, Glenanda, Kibler Park, Alveda and Mayberry Park.

However, the government’s decision to relocate the people there was met on Wednesday with the fury of residents – and for this reason, the decision was reversed.

Portion 18 of Patlynn was listed by the Johannesburg Property Company as the relocation site in its Gauteng High Court challenge over the burnt building.

It is not likely to happen.

In a letter addressed to residents of ward 125 community members, Patrick Phophi, the executive director of the Human Settlements Department, stated that “the court judgement received by the City of Johannesburg on Tuesday 3 October 2023 to relocate the affected beneficiaries of the inner-city fires and structural conditions will not be implemented.

“This means that there will be no relocation to Ward 125 and the surrounding area.”

Addressing angry residents, MMC for Transport Kenny Kunene assured them that the city had identified a different space where they would take the survivors of the tragic fire that killed 77 people last month.

On Thursday morning he assured residents: “We have cancelled the decision to relocate the people to the area due to residents being unhappy with the decision.”

The conflict first exploded on Wednesday, when MMC for Human Settlements, Anthea Leitch, told residents that they would move the victims of the fire to the area.

This prompted people to come out in numbers in protest of the decision.

One resident suggested that the victims should be relocated to Soweto.

Another claimed most of the victims of the fire were foreign nationals and suggested that they should rather be deported than the government look for a place for them to resettle.

In response to residents’ request to deport the people who are illegal foreign nationals and not relocate them, Kunene said the city is working with other departments like Home Affairs to process and deport those who are illegally in the country.

Ward 125 councillor Matsobane Sekhu urged those who attended to disperse in peace without vandalising city properties.

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