Lagos building collapse: family appeals to Madonsela

2014-10-24 09:34

A month-long agonising wait has been too much for the family of one of the victims of the Lagos building collapse.

The Eastern Cape family has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, calling on her office to help get answers from the government.

The family alleged that the government has failed to render the necessary support and to update them with information regarding the repatriation of their loved one,” the Public Protector’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, confirmed yesterday.

“We have opened a file, not for investigation, but to intervene by way of facilitating dialogue between the family and the government.”

Discussions with the presidency had already begun, and the Public Protector’s office hoped to report back to the family by next Friday.

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, said that he was unaware of the complaint.

At a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday, he thanked the families for their patience and cooperation, saying: “We know that with each passing day the waiting becomes more difficult.”

Radebe said that DNA samples gathered from all the 116 victims had arrived at the laboratory in Stellenbosch for analysis.

A total of 85 bodies are expected to be repatriated, but only when the DNA process was finalised would the government be able to conclusively identify all South Africans and then proceed with repatriation.

“Since the DNA process is in the hands of the Nigerian authorities, we are unable to provide any update regarding the timeframes when this process might be completed,” he said.

Preparations and procedures were already in place for the repatriation of the mortal remains. This included a formal reception to be held at Air Force Base Waterkloof.

“We encourage the families to take comfort from the knowledge that the greater part of the [preparatory] work has already been done,” said Radebe.

The tragedy occurred on September 12 when a guesthouse adjacent to the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed.

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