This is how the investigation into the Jhb tragedy will proceed


The commission of inquiry appointed by Panyaza Lesufi, the Gauteng premier, to investigate the devastating fire in Marshalltown, will not interfere with the police’s investigation into this tragedy, Lesufi assured on Wednesday.

The commission will also be allowed to do its work without any unnecessary political interference, the prime minister undertook during a media conference today.

Lesufi explained that the investigation will be conducted in two phases. The circumstances surrounding the devastating fire in the Usindiso building on the corner of Albert and Delver Street will be investigated in the first phase.

The fire claimed the lives of 77 people in the early hours of August 31.

The occurrence of so-called hijacked buildings (by crime syndicates) in the Johannesburg city center will also receive attention in this phase of the investigation.

The second phase of the investigation includes the necessary observations and findings about who should accept liability or responsibility for the tragedy.

In this phase, the commission will also have to make recommendations regarding appropriate steps to be taken and who will have to take these steps to address the situation.

According to Lesufi, the first part of the investigation will begin on October 1 and end on November 30. The commission of inquiry will then deliver a report with findings regarding the fire in the Usindiso building by 30 December 2023.

The second part of the commission’s investigation will begin on 1 January 2024 and end on 31 March 2024. This report can be expected before or around 30 April 2024.

RNews reported earlier that Sisi Khampepe, retired judge of the Constitutional Court, was named chairman of the commission. Adv. Thulani Makhubela and Vuyelwa Mathilda Mabena will assist Khampepe in the independent investigation.

The Gauteng government has meanwhile appointed the law firm Seanego Attorneys Incorporated to facilitate the commission’s task. This firm will appoint one of its directors or partners as secretary of the commission, who with Khampepe’s approval will handle the commission’s paperwork and will ensure that the commission is managed efficiently.