Unathi Nkanjeni

Compiled by Unathi Nkanjeni

Families of 74 killed in Joburg fire urged to go to Diepkloof mortuary to identify loved ones

Here is where to go if you suspect a loved one died in the Johannesburg CBD fire.

The Gauteng provincial health department has urged families who lost their loved ones in the Johannesburg Usindiso Building fire to go and identify them at the Diepkloof mortuary from Friday.

At least 74 people died in the tragic incident when a fire broke out in the building on Thursday. Among the deceased were 12 children.

The department said at least 10 people were burnt beyond recognition, and it will use other means to identify them.

What should I take with me to the mortuary?

“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,” said the department.

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“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 be open on Saturday and Sunday from 9am and 3pm. Counselling services will be offered to the bereaved families.”

The Gauteng FPS will use the digital fingerprint system to identify unknown bodies who have visible fingerprints, the department said. 

The system uses biometric scanners and third-party access to the databases of the home affairs department, South African Police Service, and National Credit Bureau to identify deceased bodies.

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“Bodies that have been burnt beyond recognition and without fingerprints will be identified through DNA process,” the department said.

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 011 355 3048/011 241 5707.

“Those enquiring would need to provide their personal details, including the name and surname of the family member they are tracing,” the department said.

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