Closure in corpse mix up incident

2018-02-07 06:01
PHOTO: SUPPLIEDTebogo Mzamane.

PHOTO: SUPPLIEDTebogo Mzamane.

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AN Imbali Stage 2 family who were left emotionally traumatised by the mix up of the corpse of one of their family members, who was eventually buried by another family in Colenso, finally laid one of their own to rest.

Sibusiso Mzamane, the father of Tebogo Mzamane (19) whose remains were mistakenly given to another family by an official at the Fort Napier mortuary, said Tebogo was laid to rest at the weekend.

He said even though the entire experience had been disturbing for the family, burying Tebogo has provided some closure.

Sibusiso said the family is now seeking to obtain financial compensation from the Department of Health as well as counselling as the mix up was disturbing.

He indicated that he will take legal steps against the department.

Echo published a story in last week’s edition about the Mzamane’s traumatic ordeal, however, the KZN DoH responded to the newspaper’s media inquiry after the printing deadline.

The spokesperson for the KZN Department of Health, Ncumisa Mafunda, said:

“The department regrets an incident whereby human error at one of its mortuaries resulted in mortal remains being handed to the wrong family for burial.

The department has been told the following by mortuary management:

• the identification process was completed correctly;

• the challenge arose when the body was released;

• the death register numbers which were allocated were similar (PMB 75/2018, which was allocated to the Mzamane family from Imbali whose family member’s body was incorrectly taken, and PMB 76/ 2018 which belongs to the Maphanga family from Colenso).

It appears that the staff member who released the body misread the body tag;

• incidentally, both bodies were of similar age, and both victims of assault, so the injuries were also similar; and

• the family that took the wrong body washed and dressed it before removing it from the facility.

“Both the SAPS and a court magistrate are involved in the matter.

A meeting has been held with both investigating officers involved in the case and the SAPS will be engaging with the magistrate in Colenso to issue the exhumation order so that the mortal remains of Mzamane can be exhumed and returned to the rightful family.

The mortal remains of the Maphanga family will be buried in Colenso. Both families have accepted the situation as a human error and will be required to issue affidavits in order for this process to be finalised.

“The department, once again, wishes to apologise for any inconvenience regarding this matter.”

Tebogo was found dead by the Alexandra SAPS on January 17 in Slangspruit, and a case of murder was opened by the police.

Alexandra SAPS spokesperson Captain Kholeka Mhlongo said no arrests have been made.

A meeting has been held with both investigating officers involved in the case and the SAPS will be engaging with the magistrate in Colenso to issue the exhumation order so that the mortal remains of Mzamane can be exhumed and returned to the rightful family.

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