The City York building caught alight but before firefighters could put it out, at least seven people were confirmed to have died. One of those was a person who died after jumping out of the burning high-rise building.
City authorities on the scene said the building has been occupied illegally.
Joburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, said on Twitter that “the tragedy at Cape York in the Inner City is a narrative all too familiar. Residence (sic) live in squalor & pay with their lives”.