Nigeria collapse: Ramaphosa explains repatriation delays

The deputy president has urged for patience in the face of delays in the repatriation of bodies.

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.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has asked for patience in the face of the lengthy delay in repatriating the remains of South Africans killed in a building collapse disaster in Nigeria.

More than 80 South Africans were among 116 people killed, when the guest house of TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations crumbled to the ground over a month ago.

Ramaphosa was asked about the disaster while replying to questions in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

He says high level talks with the Nigerian government are continuing, but that no date has yet been set for the return of the remains of those who died.

"I urge all of us to exercise patience, as painful as it might be."

Ramaphosa says DNA sampling is underway at a private laboratory in Stellenbosch and that once the remains of South Africans have been identified, they will be repatriated.

The deputy president says there's a limit to what South Africa can do while the investigation ordered by the Nigerian government is underway.

But he says government is ready to bring home the bodies of those who died when the time comes.