NOTE: Article first appeared on The Citizen website on October 9, 2014.
A man who lost his sister when a guest house of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria collapsed almost a month ago wants to take legal action against the church.
Mpho Molebatsi said this week his “anger was directed at TB Joshua and his church”, adding the incident had left far too many people traumatised not to take further action.
According to weekend reports, the evangelist pastor from Nigeria, TB Joshua, has sent teams to hand over gifts to the families of the 84 deceased South Africans.
The gifts included money, anointed water and maize meal.
But Molebatsi said he wanted nothing from the pastor.
“You can’t pay for a funeral with that. He can take the R5 000 and shove it,” he said.
Molebatsi’s sister, Hlubi, has not been returned to South Africa yet.
Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said earlier this week Nigerian authorities were in the process of conducting DNA analyses on the bodies of the 115 people killed in the building collapse.
The process of repatriating the bodies to South Africa had been slow, she said.
“The Nigerians said they will draw the DNA samples themselves and appoint a service provider to run the tests. Only then can we begin to compare results with our data.”
The service provider may be South African, but that remains unclear.
She said the Nigerian government had made it clear South Africa would not have access to the bodies.
“They insisted we aren’t going to touch those bodies … even though they don’t have the technology to do some of the testing,” Williams said.
The South African government has promised the bodies would be returned to the right families, but that might be difficult as it’s hard to get fingerprints from decomposing corpses.
Molebatsi said the time families had been given for repatriation was a week or two, and they “could only hope” this timeline was accurate.