KZN holds memorial for building collapse victims

2014-11-17 17:43
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Lagos victims repatriated to SA

The bodies of 74 South African victims of the Nigeria building collapse have landed at the Waterkloof Air Force base.

Johannesburg - An inter-faith memorial service for KwaZulu-Natal victims of the Nigeria church building collapse was held at Dube City, outside Durban, on Monday.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu said he hoped the families would draw comfort from the repatriation of their loved ones' remains following the 12 September collapse of a guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos.

"The trauma that has been experienced by the families will take many years to heal but we hope that receiving the mortal remains of their loved ones will assist in healing the broken hearts," Mchunu said.

"This has been a long, agonising wait [for] the families. No amount of words can express our deepest sympathies to these families for the pain and irreparable loss of their beloved ones."

He thanked all those who had supported the families, saying this was an example of ubuntu.

KwaZulu-Natal social development MEC Weziwe Thusi and health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo would lead a team providing support to the families.

"Among the interventions we have made, was to assign two social workers to each of the four affected families to provide on a continuous basis, psycho-social services during this period of grief."

Another 50 social workers would support the families during the funeral services.

Mchunu said the provincial executive council agreed that the families would decide on the dates for the burial of their loved ones and the kind of assistance they needed.

"So far we know that the Myeni family will hold their burial in Jozini, Umkhanyakude district municipality.

"The Nyawo family will have their burial in Ngwavuma in Umkhanyakude district.

"The Ngcobo family will have the funeral service in Melmoth in uThungulu district municipality and the Maphumulo family will have a funeral service here in Durban."

Eighty-one South Africans were killed in the Nigerian building collapse, which claimed a total of 116 lives. The bodies of 74 victims arrived back in South Africa on Sunday.

The remaining bodies were apparently still needed for DNA sampling by Nigerian authorities.

There were also people from Zimbabwe and one from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were travelling on South African documents when they were killed in the collapse.

Read more on:    senzo mchunu  |  durban ­  |  nigeria building collapse

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