Member of Lagos repatriation team dies of malaria

2014-11-16 18:25
(<a href=>Bianca Bothma</a> via Twitter)

(Bianca Bothma via Twitter)

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Pretoria - A department of health employee died after contracting malaria while assisting in Nigeria, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Sunday.

Radebe said Pieter Fourie, who was a member of the medical team sent to Lagos for the repatriation of the church building collapse victims, died on Friday.

Radebe was addressing a ceremony welcoming the remains of 74 people who were killed in the Nigeria church building collapse in September.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the death of the 81 South Africans had united the nation in grief.

"This is indeed a sombre moment for the people of South Africa. The people who died were not mere statistics, but lived amongst us," he said.

Late on Saturday night, it was announced that only 74 of the expected 85 bodies of victims would be returned to South Africa - apparently due to DNA sampling that still needed to be done by Nigerian authorities.

It has been a nearly two-month wait to receive the bodies of 81 South Africans, as well as three Zimbabwean and one Congolese national using South African travel papers, from Lagos.

A total of 116 people died on 12 September when a guest house belonging to the Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos, headed by TB Joshua, collapsed.

The bodies are set to be transported via road to various provincial mortuaries before private funerals are arranged.

Twenty-six injured South Africans returned a month ago. Twenty of them have since been discharged from hospitals and reunited with their families.

Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  nigeria building collapse  |  health
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