Repatriation of mortal remains from Nigeria

On 12 September a multi-storey guest house of The Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria collapsed claiming the lives of South Africans. There were a total of 349 South Africans in Lagos on matters connected to the church at the time of the tragic incident.

It is certainly heart-breaking that the families of the eighty-one (81) South Africans presumed dead continue to wait for their mortal remains to be returned home.

Following this unfortunate incident, the South African government committed itself to work tirelessly to repatriate the injured as well as mortal remains of our deceased citizens from Nigeria back home to South Africa. We remain firmly committed to delivering on that commitment.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) that was activated to coordinate various role players and lead technical planning has been sitting daily since 16 September 2014 when we officially learned about the building collapse.

President Jacob Zuma has appointed Minister Jeff Radebe as the South African government Special Envoy to go to Nigeria to engage with Nigerian authorities. Minister Radebe will hold meetings with Nigerian Federal Government authorities as well as Lagos State authorities with a view to expedite the repatriation process.

President Jacob Zuma and the Inter-Ministerial Task Team will be at Air Force Base Waterkloof on the day the mortal remains are returned. The President will meet with the families before a formal reception is held. Government will thereafter transport the remains back to the home provinces of the next of kin.

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Minister Jeff Radebe in Nigeria for repatriation of Lagos building collapse victims - 12 Nov 2014