Burial of FS citizens who died in Nigerian church’s collapse

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REFILWE MEKOA

Two Free State citizens who died over two months ago when a church building collapsed in Nigeria will be buried on Saturday.

Eighty-one South Africans were killed at the guesthouse headed by preacher T.B Joshua’s Synagogue Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria on 16 September 2014, which claimed a total of 116 lives. The bodies of seventy-four victims arrived back in South Africa last Sunday. Free State Social Development MEC Sisi Ntombela said they will be further assisting both Boitumelo Brandsel and Ditaba Mabe’s families.

She mentioned that both families have already received assistance for burial procedures. Ntombela explained that Brandsel will be buried in Thaba Nchu while Mabe’s funeral will be held at Phuthaditjhaba Stadium in Qwaqwa. She said both funerals will start at eight o’clock on Saturday morning.

“What makes me and both families happy is that the bodies of the deceased are now here. At least they would know where to find their loved one’s graves. They are satisfied that the bones are in the country and they will be buried with dignity,” said Ntombela.

Meanwhile, Free State government spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said they provided Mabe and Brandsel’s families with psycho-social services during this period of grief.

South African government spokesperson Phumla Williams sent out a statement that government will deploy social workers to continue to provide psychosocial support to the affected families.

Government hosted a formal reception ceremony at the Air Force Base Waterkloof last Sunday to receive the mortal remains of South Africans. Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini held a meeting with families on the evening of 15 November 2014 to give them information on how government will provide continuous support to the families.

Williams said at the end of the formal reception ceremony, the mortal remains were transported to the closest government Forensic Pathology Services mortuaries in the different provinces.

Government reiterated the request for families not to view the mortal remains. She stated that the request is made out of concern for secondary trauma for the families as well as public health considerations.