Nigeria collapse victims honoured at emotional memorial service

A memorial service for 22 victims from Johannesburg was held at City Hall this afternoon.

A memorial service was held for 22 victims of the Nigeria building collapse at Johannesburg City Hall on 20 November 2014. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the South African government must be applauded for bringing the remains of those killed in the Nigeria Church collapse back to their loved ones.

The bodies of 74 of the 84 people killed in the September tragedy were repatriated on Sunday.

Eleven others have not yet been positively identified.

A memorial service for 22 victims from Johannesburg was held at City Hall this afternoon.

Families and friends of those who died in the tragedy gathered to pay their last respects at an emotional prayer service.

Makhura told mourners that government shares their pain.

"We keep saying to ourselves, our own situation is nothing compared to the families."

He said the families must now focus on saying their final farewells.

"For now, we are focusing on the funeral preparations for these families."

At the same time, the families of the 22 victims thanked government for finally bringing their loved ones back home.

Dignitaries in attendance included Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele and Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau.

The building collapse in Lagos claimed the lives of 116 people, including 84 South Africans.

The guesthouse, accommodating followers of 'Prophet' TB Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations, caved in on 12 September.

The collapse 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.

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 currently underway to determine the cause of the collapse.

Earlier, a coroner announced he'll order Joshua's arrest after he again failed to appear to give evidence at the inquiry about the deadly building collapse.