Family desperate for death certificate of murdered son buried by the state
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A Durban family has been in and out of the Isipingo Home Affairs office for almost a year attempting to register the death of their son who was murdered in 2019 and was buried by the state before being positively identified.
Without the death certificate, the family cannot exhume his body and conduct a DNA test, a compulsory step before his body is handed to the family. Their hopes to afford him a dignified burial have also diminished as the family cannot carry funeral costs but are relying on their funeral plans and burial schemes. However, claims cannot be made without the death certificate.
Nhlakanipho Myeza, 26, from Umlazi disappeared in June 2019 and his family learned in November that he had been given a pauper’s burial in July 2020.
On the night of his disappearance, a witness informed his family that Myeza had been assaulted by a local taxi owner and his drivers who accused him of stealing. He was then dumped on the side of the road next to a bridge and paramedics were called to the scene.
They found him still alive but Myeza gave them false identification. Paramedics reported that he had suffered an open wound to the head, stab wounds, skin blisters with skin peeling off as though it had been burned. Myeza succumbed to his injuries and was taken to the Gale street mortuary where he was kept under a false name.
When a year passed without his family coming forward and police unable to trace them, the Isipingo Funeral Service buried him. Four months later, his fingerprints came back and police were able to positively identify him and contacted his family.
Myeza’s sister, Nelly, said when they learned of his burial, it was difficult to accept.
“Police were also shocked because at the time they were still in the process of finding us. He should not have been buried because they were still trying to find us,” she said. “They asked us to pay R1 700 for him to be exhumed and to conduct a DNA test.”
In December, Myeza’s father, Mzikayise, went to the Isipingo Home Affairs office to register his son’s death but was sent from pillar to post.
“I was told to return in March this year but I was not able to receive assistance,”said Mzikayise. “I went back in April, again in July and my last visit was early last month. They said that they could no longer help us because he died in 2019 and that the head office in Pretoria had to authorise the issuing of the certificate.”
Mzikayise said he was given a call centre number that no one picked up for weeks.
“It has been a traumatic experience all over again, we want to give him a proper funeral but we can’t. We want to claim from policies so we can do all that is required but it is impossible without the death certificate,” he said.
Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza sympathised with the Myeza family and explained that theirs was a case of late registration of death and it could be resolved.
He said family members who had the correct required documents such as birth certificates and IDs and any other proof, should be able to register the deaths of loved ones.
“I have arranged for the family to meet an officer at the Isipingo office who will assist them, if not they will be pointed in the right direction,” he said.
The Myeza family will be going back to the Isipingo Home Affairs office on Tuesday.