Total disaster as family buries wrong body: I want my dead son exhumed

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Betty Sikhosana's grief after losing her first born was severely intensified after a disastrous mix-up at an Mpumalanga hospital resulted in the 68-year-old being buried by the wrong family.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Sikhosana said she was still waiting for the body of her son Simon to be exhumed from a grave about 90km away.

This after a family from Pankop received Simon's body from Mmametlhake Hospital in Mpumalanga following his death on September 15, and proceeded to hold a funeral for the person they thought was their loved one.

Sikhosana said she was struggling to cope with the thought of her child in another person's grave.

"I'm in pain. I don't know what to do. All I want is to bury my son. It hurts me that other people buried him," she said.

Sikhosana said Simon, who had been living and working in Pretoria, died at the Mmametlhake Hospital after suffering from a lung disease.

"He loved me and looked after me. But now I don't even have money to bury him. I'm stressed," she said.

Sikhosana said Simon was living with his girlfriend and her two children but had no children of his own.

Simon's uncle, Willem Mahlangu, who had gone to the hospital to identify the body, said he got the shock of his life when he realised that the person shown to him was not his nephew.

Mahlangu said he immediately alerted hospital staff that the body was not his nephew. "I told them that they showed me the wrong body and demanded to know what had happened to my nephew's body," he said.

Mahlangu said at first staff members thought he was mistaken but it was later confirmed that there was a mix-up when the other family was called in.

"I want to know how they gave my nephew to the wrong people to bury. How did that family go ahead and bury my nephew. I want answers," he said.

Mahlangu said they had been waiting for over two weeks for the problem to be resolved and issue was taking its toll on the family.

"I now have to bury my nephew because his mother is unable to afford the funeral. We are ready to lay him to rest but how can we do that when he is lying all the way there in Pankop? This is troubling me. I can't even sleep at night," he said.

When reached for comment yesterday, the family who had mistakenly buried Simon declined respond to Sowetan's questions.

-Sowetan


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