Inquiry into Joburg fire tragedy resumes in Newtown

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The Commission of Inquiry into the devastating fire that killed 77 people in Johannesburg last year is expected to resume on Wednesday in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The government-owned, Usindiso building is believed to have been hijacked by people who are said to have been collecting monthly rent from residents.

At the end of last year, the Commission had to move to a new venue because the previous one did not comply with fire and other emergency and safety regulations.

The Chairperson of the Commission, retired Constitutional Court judge Sisi Khampepe, postponed the hearings due to security concerns at the venue.

Judge Khampepe also had to recuse one of the commissioners, Advocate Thulani Makhubela, who was accused of bias following allegations of xenophobic comments on social media.

The remaining commissioners are Justice Khampepe as chairperson and Vuyelo Mabena. The hearings will be conducted as a 2-member commission.

This morning, the commission is expected to call Wynand Engelbrecht, the fire chief officer at a privately owned fire brigade.

Building that caught fire was allegedly hijacked and had shacks inside