Elderly EC couple buries stranger, shocked that their dead son is alive

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  • An elderly Mthatha couple buried a stranger after mistaking him for their son in August last year. 
  • Four months later they discovered their son, Simzuzile Khohliso, was still alive in KZN.
  • The father had identified an unknown decomposed body last year believing it was their son. 

An Eastern Cape man returned from the dead, leaving his entire family in shock after they discovered they had buried a stranger in August last year, believing it was him.

The elderly couple,  Simphiwe Khohliso, 64, and his wife Nowethu, 62, had buried the unknown man two days after the father identified a decomposed body discovered in Mthatha, as their missing son, Simzuzile. 

They, however, discovered their mistake months later following a radio announcement in December last year calling for relatives of 34-year old Simzuzile Khohliso, to come to the Hlabisa Hospital near the borders of eSwatini in northern KZN, to make contact with the hospital.

Speaking to News24 on Wednesday, Nowethu said she got a shock of her life when she heard the announcement on air that relatives of Simzuzile should come and fetch him.

Four days later on Friday, 11 December last year they made the journey to get their son. 

READ | Family buries stranger after Covid-19 body mix-up

“For months I had mourned a stranger that we buried. As per our tradition I mourned for three month,” Nowethu said.

She added that the radio announcement by a Mr Mathe, a social worker at Hlabisa Hospital had left them speechless.

According to the mom, DNA samples were taken from her and her husband last year to determine if Simzuzile was indeed their child. 

After almost a year, the results are not back as yet, but both parents told News24 that they are satisfied that they have been reunited with their biological son. 

“Our son has a permanent scar on his body, which he got when he was wounded. So when I eventually met him, I asked him to show his scar to me and it was there."

Nowethu said:

He is our son. We just want the DNA results and the government processes to be finalised to proof what we already know.

Now a year later the family is still waiting for answers as to the identity of the stranger they had laid to rest in the end of their garden, near their home.

Nowethu said it is still a mystery how her son got to northern KZN.   

He left his Mthatha home on 4 May 2020 going to buy himself clothes and never came back.

ALSO READ |  Yet another family buries the wrong person after Eastern Cape hospital bungle

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said the DNA results are still outstanding.  

“The issue is under police investigation which is currently underway. This is underscored by the application for exhumation which has already been initiated and approved by the National Prosecuting Authority," he added.

"It will be implemented once the results are made available to the investigators. The affected family is kept updated about the developments and progress being made on the matter,” said Kinana. 

Nowethu said the are struggling to find closure as they want the body in their garden to be exhumed and the rightful family of the buried deceased, informed about the death of their loved-one.  


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