6 February 2015A C130 military aircraft landed in Pretoria in the early hours of Friday morning, 6 February, containing the bodies of the remaining victims of the building collapse in Lagos, Nigeria.“The mortal remains of the outstanding 11 compatriots who perished on 12 September 2014 when the Scoan [Synagogue Church of All Nations] guesthouse collapsed in Nigeria are all back,” Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said shortly after the aircraft landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base.The bodies were brought back to the country by a team of military health personnel and forensic pathologists who had departed about 9pm on 2 February. Some 81 South Africans were killed and 25 were injured when the multi-storey building collapsed in Lagos nearly five months ago.Following the disaster, President Jacob Zuma appointed an inter-ministerial committee to oversee the government’s response and to ensure the injured and the deceased were returned to South Africa.The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) co-ordinated the various role players and led the technical planning for the identification and repatriation of the deceased and the return of injured South Africans.In November 2014, 74 bodies were repatriated and a formal reception ceremony was held for the families of the victims. At the time, 11 bodies had not been positively identified and could not be repatriated.“The mortal remains are now back. The families can now close the chapter as we are closing it today so that the last rites are performed so they can bury them with dignity,” Radebe said.He thanked Zuma for establishing the task team to deal with repatriation process, and acknowledged NatJoints, medical personnel, scientists, officials from the Department of Social Development and members of the South African Police Service.He was grateful for the assistance of the government of Nigeria in the identification and repatriation.The 11 bodies are expected to be transported to the nearest government mortuaries in the provinces where the families live.The government has encouraged anyone in need of grief counselling services to call the Social Development Department’s toll-free number on 0800 428 428, or to send a “Please call me” text message to *120*7867#. A professional counsellor will return their call. The grief counselling services are available freely.Source: SAnews.gov
Member of Parliament Leona Alleslev is crossing the floor of the House of Commons and leaving the Liberals to join the Opposition Conservatives.The Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill MP made the stunning announcement as MPs returned to Ottawa following their summer break.Alleslev argues the Trudeau government must be openly and publicly challenged, but to do that she must join the Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.“The leader of her majesty’s Opposition and his team have a firm grasp of the urgent issues we face as Canadians and the resolve to confront them, and it is my duty to align myself with those values,” she told the House.“To my Liberal colleagues, thank you, but my oath is to country, not party, and my sacred obligation is to serve my constituents.”Scheer welcomed Alleslev to the Conservative fold, making his new MP the critic for global security.Alleslev has represented the new Toronto-area riding of Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill since narrowly defeating her Conservative challenger by 1,093 votes in 2015.Prior to politics, Alleslev served for several years in the Canadian military before joining IBM and Bombardier Aerospace.As an MP, she has served on the immigration and defence committees and as chair of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association.