Sixty-seven South Africans died in the building collapse that occurred at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria, President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Tuesday.
Scores more sustained injuries when the six-storey building belonging to the church collapsed on Friday.
Zuma said ” This is a particularly difficult time for South Africa. Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country.
“Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues that have lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking tragedy.
“The whole nation shares the pain of the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who have lost their loved ones. We are all in grief.”
Zuma, according to timeslive.co.za, said he had directed various government departments to ensure that relatives of the deceased were taken to Nigeria to identify their loved ones’ bodies.
He added that the government wanted to ensure that the bodies were repatriated as soon as possible.
Zuma thanked the families of the deceased and the Nigerian government for their co-operation with the South African government.
He also extended his condolences to Nigeria and all other nations affected by this tragedy.
“May the souls of the departed compatriots rest in peace,” he said.