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Uncle trumps gran in battle to bury boy

Crime & Courts
Pretoria – The uncle of a 14-year-old, who recently died after long suffering from cancer, could bury the teenager this weekend with the help of the court.

On the eve of the burial, Fifora Early More of Benoni turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in an urgent bid to be allowed to make funeral arrangements for the teenager.

The uncle was the foster parent of Moeketsi Ndumo as both the boy’s parents have died.

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File picture: Independent Media

His grandmother did not want to look after him after he fell ill and she seldom, if ever, saw him.

She also withheld his birth certificate from the uncle, which resulted in the boy not being able to attend school last year.

She was also the reason why he could not visit America to meet the son of former US president Ted Kennedy, who suffered from the same cancer as the teenager, the court was told.

More said in court papers that after hearing of the boy's death, the grandmother and other family members suddenly wanted to give him a burial.

But he said he owed it to his nephew, as his legal guardian, to give him a peaceful and befitting send-off.

The court granted the uncle the order and interdicted the granny, Ivy Gumbi, and other family members from interfering with arrangements.

More said the boy at first went to live with his grandmother after his parents had died.

In September 2015, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of cancer.

The granny asked the uncle to take care of the boy and he went to stay with his uncle.

The court appointed the uncle as the teenager’s foster parent.

Moeketsi’s leg was amputated in January last year in an effort to prevent the cancer from spreading. He also received chemotherapy and in an effort to get him mentally active, the loving uncle tried to enrol him in a private school.

This fell through after the granny refused to provide the uncle with the birth certificate and last year went by without him attending school.

“In June last year I arranged for him to go to Connecticut in the US to meet the son of Kennedy, who was also diagnosed with the same condition and who went through a similar trauma. I was going to pay for the trip, but the granny refused to give me his birth certificate."

They eventually managed to enrol him in the Nigel High School this year. But just before the end of the first quarter, the teenager fell ill again and they received the devastating news that the cancer had spread to his lungs.

The boy had to be treated in a state hospital, as the granny took him off her medical aid. No other medical aid would accept him on such short notice.

The doctors could not do anything for the boy and he eventually landed up in the hospice.

His devoted uncle slept next to his bed every weekend.

On May 6 this year, the uncle was on his way to the boy for his weekend stay-over, but had to turn back to attend to something else. Moeketsi passed away the following day.

“If I had not turned back, I would have been there when he passed away,” the uncle said.

He told the court that after the child fell ill, he desperately tried to contact the granny to come and see the boy. She simply did not answer the calls.

But after his death, Gumbi received a number of calls from people acting on behalf of the granny, who demanded the death certificate as she wanted to bury him “peacefully”.

He feared that the family would interfere with his funeral arrangements, which prompted him to turn to court.

Gumbi said as the legal guardian, he was entitled to make the arrangements.

Pretoria News

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