Nigeria collapse: Victims' families prepare for the worst

Families of the remaining victims have been told there's a possibility some will never receive the remains.

Rescue efforts are underway in Lagos, Nigeria where at least 67 South Africans have been killed after the collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Family members of the remaining 11 victims of the Nigerian building collapse say they've been told there's a possibility that some of them will never receive the remains of the their loved ones.

In September, more than 100 people died, including 85 South Africans, when the guest house at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos collapsed.

Seventy-four bodies were brought home two months later while authorities worked to identify the rest of the remains.

A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) aircraft has now arrived in Lagos to repatriate the remains of the last group.

Mpho Lahlwele, who lost his 58-year-old mother Maureen in the tragedy, says his family is extremely frustrated but is also anxiously hoping that her remains will be on the aircraft when it touches down in Pretoria later this week.

"We are prepared for anything that comes. Whether she comes or not, we still have to find closure. We've been going through emotions for the past four months. You have hope, you end up losing it. You heal and then the wound is open again. It's been a rollercoaster."

Veronica Mathebula was in Lagos with her husband when the building came down but he didn't survive.

She says she hopes she will receive her husband's remains.

"Every South African is anxious to know whether all 11 people are coming back or not. For now, we don't know who's coming back."

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says the team is expected to return by Wednesday at the earliest.