Family bury stranger in body mix-up

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A Uitenhage family unwittingly mourned the death of a stranger after the Gauteng Department of Health released a wrong corpse for burial in the Eastern Cape in early February.

The Mdodana family are yet to receive the body of their son Monde from a Roodepoort morgue.

Monde‚ 29‚ a former Walter Sisulu University student‚ came to Mogale City earlier this year to look for a job.

He was stabbed to death on his way from a job interview on February 7.

Although his father‚ Themba Sethenu‚ had travelled 1‚000km to identify his son and take him home‚ the body of an unknown male scheduled to be buried as a pauper was put in his coffin.

The family claim the department made them aware of the mix-up a few hours after his burial.

“I thought since they had made that mistake they will speed up the process‚ but till this day we are still waiting‚” said Sethenu.

The family had spent more than R15‚000 donated by relatives and the community to recover and bury the unknown man.

They currently have no money to bring Monde’s body back home for a second funeral.

Last month the Gauteng department of health promised transportation‚ a coffin‚ grave and the two mini buses for the second funeral but the family are still waiting.

“We know these things do happen but none of the officials had treated our matter with urgency. If we had money‚ we would have come to Johannesburg again‚ but his mother is a part-time domestic worker and I am currently unemployed. Monde was our hope out of poverty.

“The family is devastated by all this and want closure. People had been asking about the second funeral but I can’t give them answers‚” Sethenu said.

Gauteng Department of Health spokesman Prince Hamnca said they had to follow procurement processes to obtain the necessary approval to appoint an undertaker to transport and bury the deceased and would cover all the costs for the funeral for the Mdodana family.

Hamnca couldn’t explain what caused the confusion since both bodies were tagged.

“The unclaimed body was a pauper’s burial and has been recorded. There is no need to arrange for this body to be transported back to Johannesburg as the grave number of the pauper burial will be recorded in Forensic Pathology Services file for future reference should there be a legal requirement to exhume the body‚” said Hamnca.

Meanwhile Khayelihle funeral services has offered to help the family with the necessary needs to bury Monde.

Tiso Black Star Group/TimesLive

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