Help SA find closure, Mathabatha tells Nigeria

2014-11-20 15:52

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Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha has urged the Nigerian government to “do what is required” so that South Africa can find closure.

Mathabatha was speaking at a provincial memorial service held in Seshego outside Polokwane today in honour of 14 people from Limpopo whose bodies were among those repatriated from Nigeria over the weekend.

More than 80 South Africans were among the 115 people who were killed when the multi-storey hostel collapsed at TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos on September 12.

Mathabatha’s call for the Nigerian government to help South Africans find closure adds to many more of those who have been asking for investigations to determine what led to the collapse of a building used to accommodate congregants from other countries in Lagos.

Church leader Pastor TB Joshua has blamed the collapse on his detractors, saying it was a “controlled demolition” carried out by those targetting him.

Most of the mortal remains of South Africans were flown home over the weekend after more than two months of forensic tests to determine their identities. The repatriation of some of the bodies was bringing to an end the long wait for bereaved families.

The bodies were repatriated after government intervention which saw Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe going to Nigeria in a bid to speed up things.

Mathabatha praised President Jacob Zuma for his “visible leadership” in how the government has handled the tragedy and intervened in the repatriation of bodies.

He said the repatriation of the bodies has “brought us nearer to the closing the chapter”. Meanwhile, Mathabatha has likened the deaths of South Africans in this tragedy to the “passing of Nelson Mandela” saying it has “equally united South Africa”.

In closing, he said those who lost their lives in Lagos died in a place of worship and that it is said in the bible that “blessed are those who died in the house of the Lord”.

It has been confirmed that all those who died in the Nigeria church building collapse will be buried at their respective homes across Limpopo on Saturday.

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