Family members of the 62 unidentifiable victims of a Johannesburg inner city building fire have been asked to supply DNA samples in a bid to identify the remains.
The fire, which broke out in the early morning hours of Thursday last week, resulted in the death of 77 people.
According to the Gauteng Department of Health, police have taken DNA samples from the 62 unidentifiable bodies, and 13 antemortem swabs have been taken from family members.
“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,” said department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba.
He added: “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 a DNA test. So far, 69 families have reported their loved ones missing after the fire.”
Only 12 bodies have been identified, and 10 families have claimed their relatives. Seven of these bodies were returned to their families.
The fire had resulted in 88 people being treated at various health facilities, said Modiba. Of those, only 31 remained in hospital receiving medical care.
The Gauteng government’s hotline number to assist family members in locating their loved ones is 0800 203 886.