Body left untouched for 3 days

2011-09-23 00:00

RESIDENTS of an informal settlement in Howick are outraged at allegations that police and the uMngeni Municipality have left the body of a man who died at his home uncollected for three days.

The deceased, Mtaba Mhlakwana (77) of Lesotho, lived alone in the Shiyabazali informal settlement in Howick. His neigbhours said he was suffering from tuberculosis.

A neighbour, Eliza Molefe, said she noticed in the early hours of Tuesday that Mhlakwana had died.

The police and the municipality were called to collect the body.

She said: “The municipality and police refused to come and collect the body saying [Mhlakwana] doesn’t have any identification document or passport.

They said they won’t be able to do anything as he is not a South African.”

By early yesterday evening Mhlakwana’s neighbours said his body has still not been collected.

“I am very concerned about this as my children are starting to be inquisitive about the smell and the whereabouts of Mhlakwana.

“Even the family members, when contacted, said they don’t have money to come and pay for his burial.

“We don’t know what to do now,” said Molefe.

Mhlakwana’s shack was buzzing with flies and neighbours were complaining about the smell as they waited for help to remove his body.

Another neighbour, Abel Msiya, said they don’t have money as most of the community members are unemployed. If they had money, he said, they would have buried him themselves.

Moses Kilozo of the Sibambiseni Support Group said they have been helping Mhlakwana with medication and they found that he was dead only yesterday when they visited him.

Howick police spokesperson Lolly Moodley told The Witness they are not aware of the incident but would send a police van to collect the corpse.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health spokesperson Chris Maxon said the procedure is that the pathology department will be contacted by the police and they will collect the body.

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