Eastern Cape family buries stranger after yet another body mix-up

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Another Eastern Cape family has buried a stranger following a mix-up.
Another Eastern Cape family has buried a stranger following a mix-up.
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  • The Eastern Cape Department of Health has said it is not to blame for a body mix-up at the SS Gida Provincial Hospital in Keiskammahoek.
  • It resulted in a family burying a stranger – the family of Ntshoko Stishi, 98, ended up burying Mdyongolo Sonjica, also 98.
  • The health department said it had exhumed the body and handed it over to the right family.

The Eastern Cape health department said it was not to blame for a body mix-up at the SS Gida Provincial Hospital in Keiskammahoek, which resulted in a family burying a stranger.

The bungle occurred when one body was moved without a proper verification and family identification process, DispatchLIVE reported.

This meant the family of Ntshoko Stishi, 98, ended up burying Mdyongolo Sonjica, also 98.

Both died at the hospital on 15 December, the newspaper reported.

Workers at the hospital told DispatchLIVE a bungle at the hospital's funeral parlour, where two state mortuary attendants are on leave, led to the mix-up. The sources reportedly said this caused a situation where any mortuary worker could release bodies.

Health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told News24 the body mix-up cannot be blamed on the department, but on one of the family members.

"We are saying this on the basis that the first funeral parlour that went to collect the body was accompanied by a family member who was supposed to have identified their loved one. That is where the problem occurred.

"But upon realising that another family had been given a wrong body, the hospital immediately contacted the funeral parlour in question. However, they had already buried the body.

"We then facilitated the exhumation of the body; fortunately, the body was still in a good condition and was therefore handed over to [the family]. We do not take responsibility. We have extended our apology to the family that has been affected by the mix-up," Kupelo said.

Families burying strangers

News24 previously reported that a Uitenhage family buried a stranger on 28 June, after the Uitenhage Provincial Hospital released the wrong body.

The bungle happened after retired nurse Nomsa Noda, 67, who worked at the same hospital where her husband Vukile, 79, died, was prevented from viewing his body due to Covid-19 regulations.

On 13 July, an East London family buried a total stranger, thinking it was their loved one Nomawethu Mbishi, 56.

This happened after Frere Hospital released the wrong body to her nephew, Mcebisi Dyonase.

On 22 July, leading funeral parlour Avbob apologised after releasing the wrong body to a Port Elizabeth family.

Due to the bungle, Lulamile Ngqezana's family was forced to redo the funeral.

News24 also reported that a family from Mdantsane outside East London was left shocked after they were told three hours before the funeral service that their loved one, Lindiwe Landu, was accidentally buried elsewhere the day before.

Nomtshongwana Funeral Directors confirmed that they had obtained an exhumation order to exhume Landu's body.

 - Compiled by Malibongwe Dayimani

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