Inter-Ministerial Task Team to manage Nigeria tragedy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

By More Matshediso

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has established an Inter-Ministerial Task Team to help manage the tragic collapse of a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations.

The multi-storey guesthouse, which belongs to the church, collapsed on Friday in the Nigerian capital of Lagos.

President Zuma on Thursday said the tragedy, which killed an estimated 67 South Africans, has caused untold pain to many families and all South Africans. Dozens others were injured in the incident.

The President announced the Inter-Ministerial Task Team during the Presidential Local Government Summit at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.

“The members of the task team are the Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jeff Radebe as Chairperson; the Ministers of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; International Relations and Cooperation; Home Affairs;  Social Development; Police; State Security; Health and Defence and Military Veterans,” said President Zuma.

He said the rescue missions are still continuing to establish how many lives have been lost during the tragedy, “after which, we will know for sure how many citizens we have lost”.

The President again extended his and the country’s deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the deceased.

President Zuma said the task team will support families and do whatever is necessary to manage the impact of the tragedy.

“We urge all South Africans to provide all possible support to the affected families,” said the President.

“Many municipalities will be affected in a way by this disaster. We urge Premiers and Mayors to also provide support to the families of the deceased, who come from their areas.”

Team to assist in Nigeria

Meanwhile, government has dispatched a search and rescue team to Lagos to assist in the recovery of the remains of South Africans killed during the building collapse.

The ten-member team comprises a variety of experts dealing with search and rescue in rubble, as well as doctors, amongst others.

An operations centre has been set up by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to assist families affected by the tragedy. The centre can be reached on 012 351 1000.

The department has also set up an Operations Room in Pretoria, which provides consular services and advice to families 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The public can contact the department on the following contact numbers: 012 351 0924 / 012 351 1757/ 012 351 1262 or 012 351 1623. – SAnews.gov.za

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