Nigeria: Another 17 South Africans presumed dead

SA's High Commissioner to Nigeria told EWN that the death toll in Lagos has risen to 84.

Rescue efforts underway in Lagos, Nigeria where at least 67 South Africans have been killed after the collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, has told Eyewitness News that the death toll from the collapse in Lagos has risen to 84.

President Jacob Zuma initially announced that 67 South Africans were crushed to death when a residential building owned by TB Joshua's popular church collapsed a week ago.

Late last night, government said 17 South Africans are either dead or missing following the collapse.

Video: 67 South Africans die in building collapse.

Government confirmed that 349 South Africans were in Nigeria to hear Joshua preach.

A total of 265 of them have been found alive.

It's also been confirmed that an assessment team from South Africa has now touched down in Lagos and will help with coordination.

Government has thanked the families of those still missing for sending photographs to help identify bodies where possible.

Arrangements are being made to bring the bodies home.

Meanwhile, the church maintains the collapse was the result of some kind of an attack and has described those who died as martyrs.

TB JOSHUA PAID SURVIVORS

A Durban woman who survived the tragedy has told Eyewitness News that Joshua has given surviving South Africans R2,000 each and prayed for them before they returned home.

Questions have been asked about the state of the hostel where followers of the controversial pastor stayed.

Thandi Zwane was hospitalised for three days after she was trapped under the rubble for more than 13 hours.

She has defended Joshua and says those who blame the pastor for the collapse are "spiritually immature".

Video: Nigeria building collapse caught on camera.

Zwane says the pastor is a kind man who gave the survivors money, food and prayed for them.

"Joshua sent his own staff to take care of the people in hospital in spite of the doctors and nurses who are there."

She says she will still go back to Nigeria as she believes the collapse was part of God's plan.

Meanwhile, the Lagos state government has defended the pace of its investigation into the deadly collapse.