Media release

Government remains unwavering in its commitment to bring back remains from Nigeria

12 January 2015

12 January 2015

The South African government reiterates its steadfast commitment to repatriate all of the mortal remains of the South Africans that were killed during the building collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria last year.

During this tragic incident, 85 South Africans were killed and 26 were injured.  Seventy-four bodies have since been repatriated and all the injured.  Eleven bodies remain unaccounted for due to the inability to match the DNA samples. Subsequent to the repatriation of the 74 remains, social workers together with the South African forensic unit visited the families of the 11 unaccounted bodies. Fresh samples were collected from the family representatives. These samples have been submitted to the laboratory for processing.

“Government acknowledges that families of the victims need closure to begin the healing process. This can only happen once their loved ones are brought back home for proper burial. Government is committed to repatriate the remains of the 11 bodies. The work of the verification has commenced following the festive break.  Government continues to collaborate with the Nigerian authorizes to finalize the outstanding work of identifying the 11 South African bodies,” said Government’s spokesperson, Phumla Williams.

“Government continues to provide psycho social support services to the families in distress through the toll-free number 0800 428 428,” Williams said.

Government appeals to the religious communities to continue praying for these families. All is being done to finalize the work of identifying the eleven outstanding bodies. “We will communicate with the families as soon as the Nigerian laboratory has finalized the process,” Williams said.


Phumla Williams
Cell: 083 501 0139

Issued by the Department of Communications

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