Burial bungle infuriates family

2013-07-02 12:20

Pietermaritzburg - A 51-year-old man from Dargle in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands was buried as a pauper by Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg after the institution was allegedly unable to locate his relatives.

But Mbekeni Skhakhane’s children are now furious that their father was buried without their knowledge.

Skhakhane’s eldest daughter Bawinile, 27, told The Witness the family is now trying to have her father’s body exhumed so he can be buried next to her mother.

She has two other siblings - Portia, 16, and Luyanda, 9.


She said her father - who was the family’s main breadwinner - went to the hospital on 29 January 2013.

According to the hospital, he died the same day.

“We went to the hospital the following day and we were told that our father was never admitted. Out of worry, we then searched for him at mortuaries around Pietermaritzburg, at Fort Napier and Edendale hospital,” she said.

“We made a missing persons report at Taylor’s Halt and left them with our father’s photo,” said Bawinile.

The siblings received a shock on 15 April when they were told that Northdale Hospital was looking for the family of a deceased man with the same name and surname as their father.

When they arrived at the hospital, they were told he had already been buried.

“They said we would have to exhume the body. This is impossible because, first, it was not our fault, and we do not have the amount of money needed.”

Approached for comment, Northdale Hospital representative Mandisa Dlamini did not deny the incident.

She said the hospital had noted a service gap and had developed the quality improvement plan to prevent it from happening again.

No contact number

“Skhakhane came to the hospital in a stable condition and was seen in Medical Out Patients,” Dlamini said.

“His condition worsened and he was rushed to casualty. His name was, therefore, not registered in our casualty book.”

After he died, the hospital’s attempts to contact the family were unsuccessful because there was no contact number in his folder, she said.

“The local [radio] stations were used to search for the family. With no response from all of our attempts, he was afforded a dignified pauper’s burial.”

She said the hospital is ready for the exhumation, but the department has yet to give the go-ahead.


  • James Strawson - 2013-07-02 12:53

    Do you really think the dead guy gives a damn how he was buried?

      Adele Coetzee - 2013-07-02 13:21

      It does matter to his family!!!!!! Idiot!!!!!

  • Dmitri Dumas - 2013-07-02 13:04

    ...the hospital had noted a service gap and had developed the quality improvement plan to prevent it from happening again...

  • Flynn Govender - 2013-07-02 13:04

    The dead is only kept for 3 months in the state mortuary and thereafter if no relatives or family members claim the body, a porpus burial is done. The state has to do this because of space in their mortuaries

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2013-07-02 13:47

    Is it only me or others also put off due to the shutterstock photo, next to the article. If the stone, at the back was centered to the other grave than the next grave is off-center. I know it is only a photo from library stock, but it was taken from a real grave. Hell, I hope some-one someday inspect my grave 1st before the "time". If not, I will be forced to lay on my side to be in the center. lol. Attention to detail diggers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brenda Luthers - 2013-07-02 15:32

    Sorry sisi, that what almost happen to my family,luckily the government mortuaty took his finger(younger brother),they manage to get our house address which is 100meters away from the police station where an missing person file was open to top it off, they were annoucing on the Lesedi radio station and we are Tsonga speaking people If it was not for neighbours my brother would have been buried as well and we would have not known what happened to him. To be honest with I hate baragwanath hospital, Protea North useless police officers and of JZ with passion .

  • Brenda Luthers - 2013-07-02 15:38

    Sorry dear sisi,went through the same ordeal.When my younger brother went missing we searched for him at diepkloof mortuary, baragwanath mortuary and hospital.Two months later we found him at Diepkloof mortuary through a radio Lesedi of which we hardly listen to because we are Tsonga speaking. If it was not for neighbours we would have been burried and we would have not known what happened. What makes me angry they had our house address number which 100m away from the police station where the case of a missing person was opened.I hate baragwath, JZ and Diepkloof Mortuary

  • Fannie Stakza - 2013-07-08 19:33


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