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Family fears for their lives after graduate doctor ‘poisoned’

Dr Khethokwakhe Zondo who was allegedly poisoned prior to his graduating, dies six days after his graduation allegedly due to food poisoning. Picture: Supplied

Dr Khethokwakhe Zondo who was allegedly poisoned prior to his graduating, dies six days after his graduation allegedly due to food poisoning. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 27, 2022

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DURBAN - The family of a man who died six days after his graduation said they were living in fear and have opted not to return to their hometown in Mandeni.

Khethokuhle Zondo, 28, who had graduated as a medical doctor on December 10, 2020, was declared dead en route to hospital on December 16.

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It is alleged that Zondo had gone home for a few days in August for a visit and when he came back was sick. A few months later, test results showed that he was suffering from food poisoning.

According to the family, Zondo started complaining about having chest pain a few weeks after his return.

Nomthandazo Zondo, his youngest sibling, said they had hoped he would get better; however, they were shocked when he started passing blood clots.

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“He told us he started feeling sick after someone gave him a drink back home. We took it lightly because we thought it would pass – little did we know that it would cost him his life.

“The doctors kept telling us it could be heart condition symptoms until the latest results proved otherwise. We were so shocked. We couldn’t believe it. I can’t think about everything he went through without tearing up. Seeing my brother in that state will forever haunt me,” she said.

Zondo was an intern at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria. He took care of his three siblings and his 2-year-old son.

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Nomthandazo said the family was struggling as they had been chased out of the doctors’ quarters where they were residing with her brother.

“I just lost my job which was supposed to be a three-month contract as a teacher’s assistant. They had promised to keep me but now they came up with stories to let me go. Not only have I lost a brother but I instantly became unemployed.

“How will I be able to take care of my brother’s son? Soon we won’t be able to even afford rent.

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“It is difficult. I can’t even mourn his passing properly with all this stress. It’s like he left with his light and now everything is shutting down on us,” Nomthandazo said.

She said going back home was not an option as they were not sure who allegedly poisoned their brother.

“Until we know who killed him we are not safe. His son and I had to flee at midnight on New Year’s Eve (three days after the funeral). One of my neighbours told me that the person we are suspecting said they want to get me. I don’t know what that meant but I got nervous. We left at dawn and never looked back. I fear they would kill us too and yet we don’t know what we did wrong. Who would kill such a peaceful and humble person? They should have killed me instead,” Nomthandazo said.

Zondo was laid to rest at his homestead in Mandeni on December 28, 2020.

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