Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba visited the scene to assess the damage on the corner of Jeppe and Nugget streets.
“The tragedy at Cape York in the Inner City is a narrative all too familiar. (Residents) live in squalor & pay with their lives‚” Mashaba tweeted.
“It’s imperative to restore dignity & quality housing to residents so they no longer need to resort to such extremities for shelter.”
Emergency services spokesperson Nana Hadebe confirmed that six bodies were found inside the building‚ while another person jumped and died.
Search and rescue operations are currently under way. A skylift was used to rescue the 50 people‚ who were rushed to hospital.
A number of fires have broken out at the Cape York before‚ with reports suggesting that authorities had warned the owners to deal with potential fire hazards.