At least 63 people were rescued dead and at least 43 others were injured in the fire, the emergency services said on X, formerly Twitter. Robert Mulaudzi, spokesman for the local emergency services, said the death toll could rise. Other people may be trapped in the building.
A search and rescue operation was underway and firefighters were moving carefully through the complex. According to the authorities, the fire has now been largely extinguished. Numerous covered bodies were seen outside the building in Johannesburg’s central business district. The cause of the fire initially remained unclear.
Smoke is still coming from some windows. According to Mulaudzi, many homeless people lived in the building illegally without formal rental agreements. Witnesses report that up to 200 people could have lived there. According to media reports, the building was officially empty.
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the capital of the Gauteng province.
qu/fab (ap, dpa, afp, rtr)