Ramaphosa due to visit site of the George building collapse

President Cyril Ramaphosa will visit the site of the George building collapse on Thursday, joining his ministers who have already been there.

Also read: Rescuers call on public to help identify bodies following building collapse

While rescue workers and other players have been working on the George site for more than 211 hours since the incident, the President announced on Tuesday morning that he would be visiting the area.

According to the most recent update, 62 of the 81 people who were estimated to be on-site at the time of the incident have been rescued and recovered.

Thirty-three people have been declared dead, and 12 more are currently hospitalised. Nineteen people have gone missing.

Only 47 victims have been connected to their families, according to a statement released by the Garden Route District Joint Operations Committee (JOC) and George Municipality.

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‘The identification of the deceased is the joint responsibility of SAPS and the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness FPS (which also manages the visual identification in support of SAPS).

‘After an incident such as this, visual identification can understandably be difficult and traumatic for family members and requires SAPS to undertake identification through scientific means, of which DNA testing is one method.

‘We urge the media and public to please respect the families of the deceased while we facilitate the identification process with SAPS,’ they said.

‘The Garden Route District JOC’s adherence to a stringent double verification protocol is crucial for maintaining the integrity and accuracy of reported numbers of the deceased, which is essential in emergency and disaster response scenarios.

‘This verification process involves cross-referencing information from multiple reliable sources, such as recovery teams, hospitals, and forensic services.’

Since the fatal incident on Monday, 6 May, the government and its disaster management agencies have mobilised personnel and resources to assist in the rescue efforts, as well as provided support to survivors and families of the deceased.

‘President Ramaphosa remains deeply attentive to the rescue and recovery efforts under way and has expressed his deep condolences to the family and friends of the deceased workers,’ the Presidency said.

Ministers and deputy ministers from the departments of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Employment and Labour, Health, Police, International Relations and Cooperation, and Public Works and Infrastructure visited the site prior to Ramaphosa’s arrival on Thursday.

The president’s visit to the disaster site will begin with a meeting with the Disaster JOC at 10.30 a.m. at the Eden Disaster Operations Centre.

Ramaphosa is expected to arrive at the disaster site around midday to meet with affected families.

Meanwhile, the George Municipality has confirmed that the fresh food donations received for the affected families still residing at the George Civic Centre are adequate.

‘The families remain supported and provided with meals. However, for those still willing to contribute, donations may be redirected to AFM (AGS) Soteria Church at 27 Victoria Street in George.

‘The Western Cape Department of Social Development has indicated that a comprehensive range of services will continue to be made available to the affected families for a minimum of six months.’

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Also read:

Death toll rises to 33 as rescue efforts continue at site of collapsed building

Picture: George Municipality / Facebook

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