Clash over pupils’ funerals

2015-01-31 00:00

TALKS between families of the seven pupils who were killed in the bakkie crash and government officials broke down yesterday as the families were told none of the funerals can take place tomorrow.

The Chonco, Chamu, Shezi, ­Vilakazi, Mchunu, Dlamini and ­Nkomo families were due to meet at the community hall at Imbali Unit 18 with officials from the Department of Transport, Road Accident Fund, ­Education Department and ­Msunduzi Municipality to discuss ­funeral arrangements.

Families who wanted their children buried by this weekend, however, had to leave with more bad news.

Thandiwe Chamu, mother of Bandile (10) who died in the crash, described the meeting as a waste of time.

She said: “Even though we stressed to the officials that we wanted the mass funeral to be held over the ­weekend, they disagreed with us.”

Chamu added they wanted the mass funeral to be sooner than next week because of concerns that the bodies might decompose. “Every family might end up arranging their own funerals because nothing really worked out at the meeting,” she said.

The Chonco family, who excluded themselves from the mass funeral plans from the start, due to cultural considerations, said their decision to bury Sinethemba (7) separately was not challenged by any officials.

Sinethemba’s older sister, Thanda, said yesterday the family are currently busy with funeral arrangements.

Fezokuhle Primary School ­principal Bhekane Nkwanyana said there was nothing finalised about ­funeral arrangements for tomorrow, but officials suggested that the ­memorial service be held on Tuesday at Imbali Unit 13 sports ground or the DUT Indumiso campus.

School governing body member Botsotso Mahlaba said the ­government could not arrange the ­funerals for tomorrow because they had planned for Premier Senzo ­Mchunu to visit the homes of the ­bereaved tomorrow.

Ward 15 councillor Garnet Mlete said not everybody was pleased with the arrangements, but the memorial service was proposed for Tuesday, and the funeral for Thursday.

Road Accident Fund and transport and education department officials could not be reached for comment.

V Thandiwe Chamu mother of Bandile

Even though we stressed to the officials that we wanted the mass funeral to be held over the weekend, they disagreed with us.

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