Last 6 church collapse victims arrive in Mpumalanga

2015-02-06 20:13
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The remains of the last six of 24 people from Mpumalanga repatriated after the Nigerian building collapse tragedy will arrive in the province on Friday, the provincial government said.

"The other 18 mortal remains were repatriated and received by their respective families for burial in November last year," premier spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said in a statement.

"Most families have already arranged funerals for Saturday and Sunday this weekend, except for the family from Steve Tshwete, which will delay for another week since they sadly have another burial tomorrow that was long planned."

Mncwango said of the remaining bodies, two were from Nkomazi [Mzinti and Sidlamafa], two from Bushbuckridge [Thulamahashe], one from Umjindi [Barberton] and one from Steve Tshwete [Middelburg].

He said government assured the families that the DNA tests conducted have been verified and families would be burying the correct remains.

"Families have once again been advised during the counselling sessions not to view the mortal remains since they are in an extreme bad state of decomposition and disfigurement."

The remains would be arrive at the Themba Hospital at 16:00.

The plane carrying 11 bodies of South Africans who died in the Nigeria church building collapse arrived in Pretoria on Friday morning.

The huge, noisy military C130 aircraft touched down at the Waterkloof air force base at 01:18.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Friday that government was awaiting answers from Nigerian authorities regarding the fall of a church building in which 85 South Africans were killed,

"We are as keen as the families to know the truth of what actually happened when that building collapsed in September," Radebe told reporters in Pretoria.

"We feel that whoever is responsible, there has to be consequences for that."

Coroner's inquest

The 11 bodies arrived almost five months after the Lagos disaster.

From the military base, the bodies would be transported to the nearest government mortuaries ahead of release to the families.

Radebe said government was pinning its hopes on the outcome of a coroner's inquest established by Nigeria to probe the collapse of a guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church Of All Nations headed by famous preacher TB Joshua.

"The position of government is that we have no direct role to play at the coroner's inquest because this incident happened in Lagos but our consular-general has a watching brief," he said.

"We are satisfied that the coroner's inquest is proceeding very well."

The minister read out the 11 names of the deceased. He said the cost of the repatriation processes had not been ascertained.

Eighty-one South Africans were among the 116 people who died on 12 September last year when a guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos - headed by preacher TB Joshua - collapsed.

Seventy-four bodies - including four foreign nationals travelling on South African documents - were returned to South Africa last November.

Read more on:    tb joshua  |  mbombela  |  nigeria building collapse

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