Nigeria: SA victims to be repatriated this weekend

The bodies of 81 South Africans will be repatriated this weekend after several delays.

The plane carrying 26 South Africans, including three children, who were injured in the Lagos building collapse more than week ago has landed at the Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria on 22 September 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's inter-ministerial task team in Nigeria says that the bodies of South Africans killed in a building collapse in Nigeria, will be home by the weekend.

Today marks exactly two months since a guest house at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos collapsed killing more than 100 people, about 81 of whom were South Africans.

Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, yesterday met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, but his officials confirmed they wouldn't be meeting the controversial pastor, TB Joshua.

The task team confirmed that 81 South Africans, two Zimbabweans and the remains of another person from the Democratic Republic of Congo will arrive at the Waterkloof Airforce base on Sunday.

A chartered flight carrying 25 South African survivors arrived at Swartkop Air Force Base in September days after the tragedy.

Inter-ministerial task team spokesperson Phumla Williams says their meetings with Nigerian officials have been fruitful.

"Today Minister Radebe is also going to have his last meeting with the Nigerian government, but we will be repatriating South Africans this Saturday."

Williams says the identification of bodies is also nearly complete.

"The team that is working with the Nigerian medical team is still at it, but we confident that most of the bodies on Saturday would have been finalised."

Williams added that another team will touch down in Lagos to help facilitate the transportation of belongings and remains.

She says while families in Gauteng will have the bodies of their loved ones returned to them at the weekend, families in other provinces may have to wait an extra day.

An investigation into the cause of the collapse is currently underway in Lagos.

While experts suspect structural defects the church has maintained evil forces were behind what it says was a controlled demolition.