Nigeria collapse: SA survivor drank urine

Lindiwe Ndwandwe was trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building for five days.

FILE: Rescue workers clear away mattresses used by occupants of the collapsed guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations at Ikotun in Lagos on 17 September, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - South African survivors of the Nigerian building collapse have described their traumatic experiences to Eyewitness News including having to drink urine to stay alive.

The building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on 12 September, killing 115 people, including 80 South Africans.

The collapse occurred when three extra storeys were being added to the existing two of a guesthouse of the church compound, where visitors from abroad flock to stay.

Led by the charismatic "Prophet" TB Joshua, the Lagos Pentacostal church attracts a global following of Christians who believe Joshua is able to perform miracles including curing the ill and raising the dead from the grave.

Last week, government brought back a group of 25 South Africans who survived the Lagos tragedy, some had lost limbs.

Lindiwe Ndwandwe from Kempton Park has scars on her legs and arms, evidence of her five-day ordeal trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building.

She said she had to drink her own urine in order to stay alive.

Ndwandwe said she stayed behind in Lagos to conclude her spiritual journey by attending the Sunday church service.

"After the prayers, I felt peace in my heart - I was free."

She said she started seeing angels while waiting to be rescued.

"I believe it was an angel because it was at the time when I was asking God for confirmation. I heard a voice that told me I won't die."

Like many survivors of the tragedy, Ndwandwe said she wants to return to Joshua's church in the near future.

Jonty Cloete from Mossel Bay, who was part of the South African group who visited the church, said he had to help with the medical rescue operation.

"There were onlookers who would cheer when survivors came out. At night, they would open a hole and 15 people would come out."

CALLS FOR PROFESSIONAL, TRANSPARENT PROBE

The Nigeria Labour Congress has called for a professional and transparent probe into the deadly Lagos collapse to pinpoint the exact cause of the disaster and prevent future tragedies.

The party says a thorough investigation must be carried out to put speculation to rest and to ensure Nigeria's image is not compromised.

Meanwhile, government says only 18 post-mortem reports have so far been completed and families will have to wait much longer before the deceased can be repatriated.

The South African government has so far identified 62 of the South Africans killed in the disaster and is working on the repatriation process.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said government has to wait for the post-mortem reports of all the deceased to be completed before the repatriation process can start.

Earlier, Radebe told Eyewitness News the repatriation process will take longer than expected due to Nigeria's laws and regulations.

The minister said the Nigerian government has made slow progress in conducting forensic tests on the deceased.