The Department of Health confirmed that on Sunday, pathologists completed the post-mortem examinations of the 74 people who died in a fire in Johannesburg last week, as well as those of three people who later died in hospital. The investigations were carried out at the Diepkloof forensic pathology services (FOD) morgue.
According to the department, there are 62 unidentifiable bodies at the morgue and 12 identifiable bodies. Ten families have already identified their loved ones from the 12 identifiable bodies.
Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, MEC of Health in Gauteng, says the police also took DNA samples from the 62 unidentifiable bodies with 13 samples taken from immediate family members.
“DNA samples can only be taken from immediate family members (siblings or parents). Once the samples have been taken from the deceased and from the family members, they will be cross-referenced to match them as part of the identification of the deceased.
“To date, 69 families have called at the facility to report their loved ones, after which a list was created with 69 names of persons who may have perished in the fire.
The government is calling on family members of the 62 unidentifiable bodies to come to the FPS mortuary in Diepkloof to help with the process of identification which includes DNA tests.
Counseling services are still provided at the Diepkloof FPS mortuary by clergy as well as the department’s psychologists.
The Gauteng provincial government has also made available a hotline number to help family members locate their loved ones. Inquiries can be made by calling the toll-free hotline number on 0800 203 886 or direct line during office hours on 011 355 3048 or 011 241 5707.