Families who lost loved ones in the Johannesburg Usindiso Building fire can go and identify their family members at the Diepkloof mortuary from today.
At least 74 people died in the tragic incident when a fire broke out in the building they were living in on Thursday.
“A family member or relative who wishes to identify their loved one should have their original Identity Document (ID), ID of the deceased or birth certificate if the deceased is a child.
“If the deceased is a foreign national, a passport, asylum seeker certificate or a letter from [the] country of origin confirming who the deceased is and to whom the remains should be handed over to is needed. The Diepkloof Forensic Pathology Service (FPS) is located at 2 Collinder Road Berthsam, Diepkloof, Soweto.
“Identification of the deceased bodies at the Diepkloof FPS will take place on Friday. The facility will also open on Saturday and Sunday from 9am and 3pm. Counselling services will be offered to the bereaved families,” the Gauteng Provincial Health Department said in a statement.
Those who died include at least ten people whose gender could not be identified because of the extent of their burns.
In this regard, the department will use other means in an attempt to identify them.
“The Gauteng FPS will use the Digital Fingerprint System to identify unknown bodies who have visible fingerprints. The system uses biometric scanners and third-party access to the databases of Department of Home Affairs, South African Police Service and National Credit Bureau to identify deceased bodies.
“Bodies that been burnt beyond recognition and without fingerprints will be identified through DNA process,” the department said.
Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said: “As soon as we learned of the incident, we immediately activated our emergency protocols to ensure that we respond as speedily as possible to those that needed medical attention. The Gauteng Emergency Medical Services has been on the ground contributing to emergency and rescue efforts as part of the provincial disaster management response.
“We have further deployed counselling and other psycho-social support services to compliment interventions from the City of Joburg and provincial department of Social Development”.
Those family members who are looking to trace loved ones can call the toll-free hotline number on 0800 203 886 or direct line during office hours on 0113553048/0112415707.
“Those enquiring would need to provide their personal details including the name and last name of the family member they are tracing,” the department said.