Nigeria collapse: Slow repatriation process frustates families

Govt says all processes are being handled by Nigerian authorities.

FILE:Nigerian rescue workers searching through rubble from the collapsed guesthouse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos on 16 September 2014. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Families who are still waiting for the bodies of their loved ones who died in the Nigerian building collapse say they don't want to point fingers for the slow repatriation process.

Last month, 116 people died, including 80 South Africans, when the Lagos guest house run by pastor TB Joshua collapsed.

Just yesterday the South African government said it's still not clear when the victims' remains will be sent home for burial.

Mpho Dlamini, who lost his 36-year-old sister in the collapse, says the families need to support each other during this devastating time.

"Help each other out in a way where after all our loved ones have come back, we can actually come together at a particular time because I'm the only one in this area. I just want to come and connect with them."

The collapse at the Synagogue Church of All Nations occurred when three extra storeys were being added to the existing two of a guesthouse in the church compound where visitors from abroad flock to stay.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said government can still not confirm when the remains will be repatriated.

Radebe shed very little light on the latest developments.

He reiterated all processes are being handled by Nigerian authorities, but said government is constantly in talks with the relevant parties.

The minister said DNA samples of all 116 victims have arrived at a Stellenbosch laboratory where they are being analysed.

Radebe said once this is complete, government will be able to conclusively identify the South Africans.

At the same time, the office of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says it has received a complaint from one of the families of a South Africans killed in the collapse whose accused government of failing to communicate with them about the repatriations of the victims of the bodies.

The office says it's engaging with the presidency to deal with these fresh allegations.