State set to begin postmortems on Botswana crash victims

Pathologists will begin doing postmortems on the bodies of the 45 ZCC congregants who died in a bus crash in Limpopo on Thursday.

This was confirmed by the provincial health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba during an interview with Sunday World.

Regarding the bodies’ repatriation, officials from Botswana and South Africa are still in contact, said Ramathuba.

“We’ll start to proceed with the postmortems as early as tomorrow (Tuesday). We are waiting for some family members who will come and assist us. But as the situation stands, all the remains will be subjected to DNA tests.

“Already we can indicate that that particular process has already been initiated with our Botswana counterparts, who are in constant communication with our team,” Ramathuba added.

On Monday, the Botswana police issued a statement saying the DNA samples for family members of the victims had been completed.

“The DNA sample analysis is part of a joint Forensic Science investigation process by Botswana Police and South African Police Services to help identify the disaster victims.

“Given its complexity, the identification process is expected to take time to conclude,” said Botswana Police.

The tragic accident happened while the bus was transporting church congregants from Gaborone, in Botswana, to the Saint Engenas Zion Christian Church in Moria, Limpopo, for the Easter service when the crash happened.

All the other passengers who were in the bus died except for an eight-year-old girl who was recovering from the hospital.

Despite the incident, thousands of pilgrims gathered in Moria at the weekend to celebrate 100 years since the establishment of the church.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the church on Sunday and congratulated Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane on the milestone.

“Bishop, I want to congratulate the church for turning 100 years [old]. Today, I am starting to see so many people. I also want to thank you for the lovely church regalia that you have donned.”

“We continue to be grateful for the lessons we take away from the church with each visit,” said Ramaphosa.

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