The death toll in the building collapse that occurred at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria stood at 70, the SABC reported on Wednesday. A multi-storey building belonging to the church collapsed on Friday, leaving scores of people dead and injured.
President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday announced that 67 South Africans had died in the collapse. The nationalities of the deceased could not be confirmed because the department of international relations and cooperation could not be reached for comment.
Commenting on the deaths on Tuesday, Zuma said: “This is a particularly difficult time for South Africa. Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country.”
He said he had directed various government departments to ensure relatives of the victims were taken to Lagos to identify bodies and repatriate them. The identities of the deceased had not yet been made public.
On Wednesday, Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters that “the more technical questions” should be asked at a later stage.
“This incident happened in a foreign country. Having said that, we will leave no stone unturned to bring back their loved ones to South Africa,” she said.
An advanced team of ten experts left South Africa for Lagos on Wednesday evening.
“They will help to assess needs,” she said. SAPA