No clarity in repatriation of TB Joshua church victims
by TINSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE South African government said it remained committed to repatriating of the remains of locals that died following the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) guesthouse building collapse in September.
Of the 116 people that died, 81 are said to be South Africans.
Two months after the tragedy, the bodies have not been repatriated.
Department of Communications Spokesperson, Phumla Williams, in a statement, however reassured the families of the victims.
“We would like to reassure the families and South Africans at large that
government has not taken the foot off the pedal. The repatriation of the
mortal remains very high on the government agenda.
“President Zuma’s appointment of Minister Jeff Radebe as South Africa’s Special Envoy demonstrates government’s unwavering commitment return their loved ones home for a proper send off,” read a statement.
“Our government will continue to work around the clock to ensure that the
mortal remains of all South Africans that are positively identified and
released by Nigerian Authorities are returned home.
“Government thanks the people of South Africa, churches and various other
formations who continue to extend a comforting hand and support to the
affected families and communities during this difficult time. Let us
please not become tired of providing comfort and support to the affected
The statement also wished to express appreciation to the Nigerian
authorities for their cooperation in ensuring that the identification thus
far and repatriation of the injured and deceased South Africans was done
in a professional and cordial manner.
Nonetheless there was no clarity when the bodies would be repatriated.
“While we do not as yet know when the Nigerian authorities will announce
the release of the mortal remains positively identified to be South
African, we have to maintain high levels of readiness.
“To this end, a preparatory team has been deployed to Lagos to lay the foundation for the repatriation of the mortal remains.”
The team was said to be working closely with the South African High
Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni and South African Consul General in
Lagos, Sam Monaisa, to meet all necessary administrative requirements for
the repatriation process.”
– CAJ News
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