Man can finally rest in peace, dignity

2017-03-15 06:02

The Free State Department of Health has paid R175 000 in legal claims to the family of the late Vincent Lekhoro after the settlement of the family’s lawsuit against the department.

The aggrieved family sued the department after finding his body rotting in the state mortuary in Bloemfontein in January 2016.

Lekhoro’s body was one of the bodies found covered in maggots after the fridge at the mortuary was found to be defective.

To rub salt into the wounds, Lekhoro’s brother Stephan was offered a microwave oven by the acting manager of the state mortuary, Dr Yusuf Vahed.

The microwave was intended as compensation for the trauma suffered after the family threatened to sue the department for the incident.

The deceased had been shot and killed on 31 December 2015.

Represented by Van Schalkwyk & Partners Attorneys, Stephan had initially sued the then MEC for Health, Benny Malakoane, for R475 000 in June 2015.

Stephan’s claim included compensation for additional funeral expenses, defamation of character and emotional trauma.

The family had paid close to R35 000 for funeral costs alone because of the severely decomposed state of Vincent’s body.

Originally, the department had proposed a settlement of R100 000, but eventually agreed to pay R175 000 to the Lekhoro family .

On Monday (13/03), Stephan’s attorney, Hannes van Schalkwyk, confirmed the family have received just over R101 000 after psychiatric, funeral and legal costs were settled.

The department paid out the claim in October 2016.

Stephan thanked Volksblad, parent title of Express, for exposing the rot in the state mortuary in January 2016.

“The article definitely strengthened this case.

“The family will spend some of the money to erect a tombstone for Vincent.

This will be done in April to remember and honour his memory,” Stephen said.

“The images of flies flying in and out of my brother’s mouth and worms feasting on his body will always haunt me,” said Stephen about the incident.

“Yet, we feel vindicated. Justice prevailed and our brother will finally rest in peace.”

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