Four ZCC members killed in crash that claimed 45 lives still missing

Health Minister Joe Phaahla expressed optimism that things will improve once pathologists finish their work, even though it is possible that four bodies from the Limpopo bus tragedy are still missing.

Phaahla stated that they have high hopes for the recovery of the four missing bodies once the pathology team completes a process of body matching.

The minister was speaking at a media briefing in Limpopo on Tuesday afternoon following last Friday’s bus crash that left 45 Zion Christian Church (ZCC) members dead.

Crash survivor recovering in hospital

The deceased were travelling from neighbouring Botswana to St Engenas in Moria, Limpopo, to attend the ZCC’s 100th anniversary and annual Easter service.

The survivor of the bus accident, an eight-year-old child, is doing well in the hospital and should be released shortly, according to Phaahla.

He said the department’s team is doing everything humanly possible with all the technology available to speed up the process for the families of the victims to find closure.

“They are doing this to make sure that, as quickly as possible, they can complete the task in terms of required post-mortems and all the medical requirements,” Phaahla said.

He said the most difficult part for the grieving families is identifying the remains of their loved ones.

“We want to say to the Botswana people that, as the government of South Africa works on this matter, we are doing everything possible to make sure that the families of those who have departed can have an opportunity for closure soon,” he added.

Praise for health MEC and police

Phaahla praised Dr Phophi Ramathuba, the Limpopo MEC for health, and the police for their prompt handling of the incident.

Ramathuba corrected a mistake in the department’s report indicating that about nine bodies could be identified.

She continued by saying that they are exerting a lot of effort to get to number 45, which the bus owner and the border management provided for them.

Even though the ninth body was complete, according to Ramathuba, the pathologists were unable to recognise it when they saw it.

“We are talking about a scientific process; the number can change as they advance in the number of studies; maybe during the DNA process it will give us another number,” she said.

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