The Gauteng Health Department has announced measures to assist families in identifying the victims of the tragic Johannesburg CBD building fire. Starting from Friday, families can visit the Diepkloof mortuary in Soweto to identify their loved ones.
The fire claimed the lives of more than 70 people, many of whom were burnt beyond recognition due to the blaze that engulfed an illegally occupied building as reported by the SABC News. To aid in identification, the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Services will employ a digital fingerprint system to identify unknown bodies with visible fingerprints. The identification process will involve DNA analysis for bodies that have been severely burnt and lack fingerprints.
The identification service will be available from 9 am to 3 pm, and it will extend over the weekend, including Saturday and Sunday. In addition to identification assistance, bereaved families will be provided counselling services. Family members or relatives seeking to identify their loved ones must bring the deceased’s original ID document or their birth certificate. A passport or an asylum seeker certificate will be necessary for deceased foreign nationals.
Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi intends to establish a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the tragic building fire. This inquiry will delve into the prevalence of hijacked buildings in the city, determine accountability, and uncover the root causes of the incident. Premier Lesufi will collaborate with the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, to oversee this inquiry.
Lesufi characterised the fire incident as one of the most catastrophic events the province has witnessed in recent memory.
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