Nigeria collapse: Not all bodies of SA victims will be repatriated

Jeff Radebe will tomorrow reveal the confirmed number of South Africans whose remains will be sent home.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe meets with the Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Raji Fashola at Marina House Lagos, Nigeria on 12 November 2014. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Government says it's unlikely that all of the remains of the 81 South Africans who died in the Nigerian building collapse in Lagos will be repatriated this week.

The building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) collapsed on 12 September, killing 115 people, including 81 South Africans.

The collapse occurred when three extra storeys were being added to the existing two of a guest house 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.

An inquiry is still underway to determine what caused the tragedy.

The inter-ministerial task team's Phumla Williams said a South African plane is expected to arrive in Nigeria shortly to start the repatriation process.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe will tomorrow reveal the confirmed number of South Africans whose remains will be sent home.

"The families of those who will not be receiving will be contacted and will be informed and that is the commitment we have made."

Williams said in some instances, authorities are still busy identifying the bodies through DNA tests and want to avoid sending the wrong remains back home.

The SCOAN meanwhile maintains the collapse was caused by evil forces.

Nigeria has a history of building collapses due to shoddy construction, with 130 reported incidents from 2007 to 2012 in Lagos alone, its vast and largest city of 21 million people.