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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Families of Joburg fire victims urged to help identify bodies

The Gauteng Health Depeartment confirmed all post-mortems of those who died in the devastating inferno in Marshalltown, have been completed.

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has confirmed that all post-mortems of those who died in the devastating inferno in Marshalltown in the Joburg CBD, have been completed.

The Usindiso building, located on the corner of Albert and Delvers streets in Marshalltown, was gutted by fire in the early hours of Thursday in what has been described as one of the worst  tragedies to have hit Gauteng’s economic hub.

At least 77 people died in the hijacked building.

The GDoH said DNA samples have been taken from the 62 bodies that were burnt beyond recognition and only 13 samples have been taken from families for matching.

Bodies released  

Spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said seven bodies from the 12 identifiable ones have been released to families for burial.

“The Department can confirm that pathologists completed post-mortems for the 74 bodies at the Diepkloof Forensic Pathology Services mortuary, including for the additional three who died in hospital following the fateful incident.

“The police have also drawn DNA samples from the 62 unidentifiable bodies with 13 Antemortem swabbing taken from families. Antemortem samples are only being taken from the siblings or the parents of the deceased.

“Once the samples are taken from the deceased and the family members, they will be cross referenced to match them as part of linking families with their deceased loved one,” Modiba said.

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Modiba has urged families of the victims to assist the department in identifying the bodies.

Government continues to urge family members of the 62 unidentifiable deceased bodies from the Johannesburg inner-city fire to present at the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Service mortuary in Diepkloof to assist with the process of identification which includes DNA test.

“Counselling and support services are provided on site at the Diepkloof government mortuary through the clergy and GDoH psychologists,” Modiba said

Modiba added only 31 people are still receiving care in hospital as at Sunday after 88 patients were seen at various health facilities since the horrific fire on 31 August.

“Sadly, three patients have since demised in hospital with the third death declared on Saturday (2 September) afternoon,” he said.

ALSO READ: Johannesburg CBD fire death toll rises as two children die in Fleurhof shack blaze

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