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
Two months after the tragedy, the bodies have not been
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.
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"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
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
"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
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
the repatriation process."
- CAJ News