Media release

Update on the formal reception of the mortal remains from the Nigeria tragedy

15 November 2014

 15 November 2015 

The South African government will on Sunday 16 November 2014 host a formal reception ceremony at the Air Force Base Waterkloof to receive the mortal remains of South Africans who passed away during the Nigerian guesthouse building collapse on 16 September 2014.

The official reception ceremony will be led by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.  Minister Radebe is the chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team appointed by President Jacob Zuma to oversee South African government efforts to repatriate South Africans from Nigeria. The reception ceremony is scheduled to commence at 15h00. (Programme of the reception ceremony)

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a key note address on behalf of the government and the People of South Africa.

The aircraft transporting the Mass Repatriation Team as well as other government officials is scheduled to land at the Air Force Base Waterkloof not earlier than 05h45 on the morning of 16 November 2014. It will be followed by the Antonov cargo aircraft that is transporting the mortal remains not earlier than 06h15.

Government has, through the Department of Social Development, ensured that families of the deceased were transported to Pretoria on 15 November 2014 to be part of the ceremony. Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini held a meeting with families on the evening of 15 November 2014 to give them information on how government will provide continuous support to the families. The Department of Home Affairs explained the issuing of death certificates to the families. The Department of Health briefed families on the processes that will be followed in the transportation of mortal remains from Pretoria to the different provinces.

Road closures

Partial street closure will be implemented on Sunday, 16 November 2014 from 04h00 until completion of the official reception ceremony.  The following streets will be affected:

  • Trichardt Road from Kruger Avenue to Union Avenue
  •  Solomon Mahlangu Road from R21 to Veldpou Street

Tshwane Metro Police will be deployed in the affected areas. Motorists are advised to use alternative routes during this period.

Private funerals

At the end of the formal reception ceremony, the mortal remains will be transported to the closest government Forensic Pathology Services mortuaries in the different provinces.

The mortal remains will be transported to the Government Mortuary closest to the place of burial where they will be received by their next-of-kin.

Individual families will proceed with their own private funeral arrangements.

Government discourages viewing of remains

Government reiterates the request for families not to view the mortal remains. The request is made out of concern for secondary trauma for the families as well as public health considerations.

Government will deploy social workers to continue to provide psychosocial support to the affected families.

The event is strictly per invitation. No person without formal accreditation will be allowed to enter the Air Force Base Waterkloof.

Official public broadcast

The public broadcaster, the SABC, has been appointed as the host broadcaster for the reception ceremony.  The SABC will provide pool feed to broadcasters.  The down link frequency is 11142.33 sym rate 2.857 dvbs2 FEC5/6 HD 4.2.0 profile.  SABC will capture the arrival of the plane and share the feed with other broadcasters.  Other media will be allowed on-site to cover the actual programme of the reception of the mortal remains from the pool feed system.

Accreditation will be provided for this purpose.

For more information visit:


Phumla Williams
Spokeswoman for the Inter-Ministerial Task Team
Cell: 083 501 0139

Issued by Department of Communications

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