Nigeria church tragedy: Zuma deploys ministers to help families

2014-09-18 13:44

President Jacob Zuma has established a ministerial task team to help the families of the 67 South Africans who died when a church collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria, last week.

Addressing the presidential local government summit today, Zuma said the team, which will be chaired by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, would assist the bereaved families throughout the process of returning their loved ones back to South Africa.

The South Africans were in Nigeria to attend a church service by world famous prophet and pastor TB Joshua when tragedy struck the multistorey building in which they were staying on Friday.

Zuma called for all South Africans to help the families overcome the loss of their relatives.

“We meet during a sad period when many South Africans have died tragically in Nigeria, causing untold pain to many families and compatriots.

“Our high commission in Nigeria gave us the figure of 67 but search and rescue missions are still continuing after which we will know for sure how many citizens we have lost. We extend our deepest condolences again to the families and relatives,” said Zuma.

Other members of the task team include Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Pravin Gordhan, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

“They will support the families and do whatever is necessary to manage the impact of this tragedy.

We urge all South Africans to provide all possible support to the affected families,” said Zuma.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s High Commissioner in Nigeria Lulu Mnguni told Sapa: “There are 265 South African survivors. Initially there were 96 injured South Africans, but now there are only 29 still in hospital, including a three-year-old child.”

The death toll has since risen to 80.

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