SA waits to repatriate bodies, months after Lagos building collapse

2014-11-06 14:44
File: AP

File: AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The bodies of 81 South Africans killed in a building collapse in Nigeria have yet to be repatriated two months after the accident, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.

"It is certainly heartbreaking that the families of the 81 South Africans presumed dead continue to wait for their mortal remains to be returned home," said Radebe in a statement at Parliament.

A total of 116 people were killed when a guesthouse collapsed at the Lagos megachurch of one of Nigeria's most popular preachers, TB Joshua.

Six South Africans wounded in the incident are still being treated at a Pretoria hospital.

Radebe, who has been named Special Envoy to Nigeria, said he would leave for the country "in a few days", where a team already on the ground is working to facilitate the repatriation process.

Long-drawn-out period of uncertainty

"Government regrets that families continue to bear such a long-drawn-out period of uncertainty," he said.

"We would like to reassure the families and South Africans at large that government has not taken the foot off the pedal. The repatriation of the mortal remains [is] very high on the government agenda."

Radebe's statements come a day after Joshua failed to appear at a Nigerian inquest into the building collapse, though his lawyer said the preacher never received the witness summons.

Expert witnesses at the hearing have previously ruled out Joshua's claims that sabotage from a low-flying aircraft or a terrorist attack may have caused the tragedy.

Instead, the court has been told that the guesthouse did not have any planning permission.

Inspections indicated that other structures on the site, including the church's main auditorium which Joshua claims was designed by the Holy Spirit, were structurally defective.

Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  tb joshua  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  nigeria building collapse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.