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Remains of two Zimbabweans burnt in SA fire incident identified

Story by Oleen Ndori, Foreign Desk Editor

THE remains of two Zimbabwean nationals who were burnt beyond recognition in South Africa have been identified through DNA tests.

The remains are being repatriated back home.

The August 31 fire incident in Johannesburg claimed the lives of more than 70 people, among them Zimbabwean nationals.

While other victims, including five Zimbabwean nationals, have already been buried, the identification of those who were burnt beyond recognition is continuing with initial DNA tests establishing that two victims are from Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s Consular General in Johannesburg, Mr Eria Phiri confirmed processes to repatriate the remains.

“We have been in communication with the South African government with regards to the identification of the burnt victims being done via DNA and results are now coming out. So far, 7 of our nationalities have been identified and 5 have been buried and the other two latest to be identified are set to be repatriated to Manicaland province this week,” he said.

DNA tests on more than 30 other victims are still being carried out.

An inquiry into the fire has begun and is being overseen by a three-member panel led by South Africa’s retired Constitutional Court Judge, Justice Sisi Khampepe. The inquiry is aimed at establishing the cause of the fire and consider whether anyone should be held responsible for the deaths.

More than 80 people were injured, including many who sustained broken limbs and backs after jumping out of the building’s windows to escape the fire.

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