Heartbroken Zimbabwean appeals for help to repatriate relative’s body after George Building collapse Bongani Nyoni - pic cred SABC News

Bongani Ndlovu, Online Reporter

ONE of the family members who lost a relative in the George Building collapse in South Africa said he was devastated and appealed for help to repatriate the body to Zimbabwe.

George Municipality, where the tragedy happened, is situated in the Western Cape and is over 2,000 km away from Bulawayo by road.

On 6 May 2024, an apartment building collapsed while under construction in George, South Africa, resulting in at least 33 deaths. Seven of the 18 victims identified in the tragedy are South African, and the others are from Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries.

A total of 15 victims are yet to be identified, and according to reports from South Africa, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Thulas Nxesi, will visit the area this week.

Speaking to SABC New’s Lerato Fekisi, Bongani Nyoni from Zimbabwe said he has been crying for close to a week, praying for his cousin to be found.

He said it was only when he saw a picture of him in the morgue, sent by his sister who had gone to identify the body, that he believed his cousin was dead.

“It’s very, very sad. I can’t even eat, I can’t concentrate on anything. It’s sad because I have been hoping, but this is God’s choice. My sister is speechless, she is down, sad, everything. She feels terrible,” said Mr Nyoni.

He said he last saw his cousin on the Sunday before the tragic collapse of the building on Monday, nine days ago.

“I didn’t expect that it would be my last day to speak to him. I didn’t believe that he was dead. I only believed it when I saw a picture of him. This is very, very sad because I’ve been coming here to check because I heard that there are still people underground and they are still alive. So, unfortunately, it’s a sad story,” said Mr Nyoni.

We know that he can’t even go to the site looking for him, we can’t cry for the people to make it fast. Now, you already know that he’s gone. I was always crying for almost one week. Even to accept, I accepted it after I saw the picture, that’s when I started accepting, but it is what it is.

Mr Nyoni appealed for help to repatriate the body back to Zimbabwe.

“What we need now is help from anyone for us to take his body back home. We don’t have money as home is far, far away. Even from the government, may they help us,” said Mr Nyoni.

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