A man from South Africa has admitted to setting a fire that resulted in the death of 76 people in order to cover up a murder.

Estimated read time 4 min read

A man has been apprehended by police in South Africa for confessing to starting a fire that resulted in the death of 76 individuals. He stated that he set the fire while attempting to get rid of the body of a man he had killed by strangulation.

During his testimony at an inquiry investigating the cause of the devastating fire at a downtown Johannesburg apartment building in August, the man made a surprising and unforeseen admission. This incident was one of the most catastrophic disasters to occur in South Africa.

According to reports from South African media, a man who remains unidentified testified at the inquiry that he had beaten and strangled another man on the night of the fire.

According to reports, he poured gasoline on the man’s body and ignited it with a match.

He stated under oath that he had used drugs and was instructed to murder the man by a drug supplier who resided in the same building.

After admitting to his involvement in the fire during the investigation, a 29-year-old man was arrested by the police. The man, who remains unidentified, is now charged with 76 counts of murder, 120 counts of attempted murder, and one count of arson, according to a statement released by the police.

The investigation he was giving testimony for was formed to investigate the potential reasons behind the fire. The committee responsible for the inquiry directed that his identity remain confidential after his testimony, and a lawyer conducting the witness questioning stated that it could not be held against him as it was not a criminal case.

The South African press referred to him as “Mr X” while covering his statement that he was responsible for the fire that destroyed a rundown five-story building in downtown Johannesburg, resulting in the deaths of numerous individuals, including 12 children. The fire, which occurred at night, also left over 80 people wounded.

The man is expected to make a court appearance in the near future, according to South African police. However, no specific date was provided.

The blaze brought global focus to the ongoing issue of “hijacked buildings” in downtown Johannesburg. These buildings, which have been neglected and taken over by squatters, are a widespread problem with hundreds of them in the city’s historic center according to officials.

The building in Johannesburg was owned by the city, but it was being managed by unlawful landlords who were leasing units to numerous impoverished individuals in need of housing. A large portion of the tenants were immigrants who were believed to be residing in South Africa without proper documentation.

Mr X stated that the building was a hub of illegal activities and was under the control of drug traffickers.

At the time, authorities in charge of emergency services reported that the majority of the fire escapes in the building were locked or chained shut on the night of the incident, resulting in a more fatal fire.

Witnesses and health officials reported that numerous individuals resorted to jumping out of windows, with some from heights of three floors, in order to flee from the raging fire.

Several individuals reported that they were forced to toss their infants and young ones out of the building, in the hopes that someone below would catch them. A significant number of those who were hurt sustained fractured limbs and spines from leaping out of the windows.

The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, mandated an investigation into the catastrophe. The inquiry began in October and involved hearing accounts from emergency responders who were present at the scene of the fire on August 31st in the early hours of the morning.

Last year, the interim head of emergency services in Johannesburg stated during the investigation that the structure was a potential disaster due to the high number of residents living in flammable wooden dwellings and the absence of necessary firefighting equipment such as hoses and extinguishers.

Source: theguardian.com

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