KZN government to help family repatriate medical student’s remains from the Philippines

Snegugu’s mother, Lindiwe Myeni, made a plea in a video recording, asking for help. Picture: Screenshot

Snegugu’s mother, Lindiwe Myeni, made a plea in a video recording, asking for help. Picture: Screenshot

Published Jul 17, 2023


Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal government has stepped in to help with the repatriation of a medical student’s remains from the Philippines.

That was according to the KZN Premier’s Office, which said that it will provide support and assistance to repatriate the mortal remains of a medical student from Utrecht, between Vryheid and Newcastle, who died in the Philippines.

Snegugu Ntobeko Myeni, who was a final-year medical student in the Philippines, died at the airport on July 10 as she was about to board a plane back to South Africa.

Snegugu was studying to become a neurosurgeon and it was her lifelong dream to help and serve the people of South Africa.

Snegugu’s mother, Lindiwe Myeni, made a plea in a video recording, asking for help.

In the video, Myeni said this year was Snegugu’s final year and she died on Monday, July 10, at the airport heading home.

“I am in trouble, I want her body to come home so I can bury her with dignity, but at this point it seems that this can’t happen. The South African embassy in the Philippines was unable to help me. It can only help me with information. It has told me that if I want to bring her home, it costs more than 2 million (rand or pesos not specified). If I want to cremate her, how much it would be 70K (it is also more than 2m). It said that if I want to bury her overseas, I can go bury her,” Myeni said.

She said these are some of the things she needed to share with the people of South Africa in a bid to get help in bringing her child back so that she is buried in easy reach of her family.

She also said that she tried to go to municipalities and other places for help, but these efforts have been fruitless.

“In the end, since overseas it is so expensive, I went to Icebolethu Funerals because it is has been said that they have an aircraft. I got there and indeed I saw the aircraft. They said fetching a body costs R216 000, to fetch her and return,” Myeni continued.

“I thought their pricing was better than the millions mentioned by the Philippines to bring her.

“Please help me. If you can, please help me put together that R216 000, so they can fetch her. They said they cannot fetch her without the full amount being paid.”

Myeni said that while her daughter is in the Philippines, it costs R1 695 daily.

This money accumulates the longer she stays there while she works on means to obtain the R216 000 for Icebolethu Funerals to fetch the body.

“This child (Snegugu) told me that she is finishing her studies and she will be coming home to help the people of Mzansi medically as a neurosurgeon. My child failed because she died unexpectedly. She left saying she is graduating in August and she is returning to work,” Myeni said.

“It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. As a family, we don’t know how to get this money, but we have faith in Mzansi, we’ve seen what you can do, thank you.”

After hearing about the family’s plight, the KwaZulu-Natal Director-General Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, acting on the direction of Acting Premier Nomagugu Simelane, has been in contact with the Myeni family in Utrecht.

The Office of the Premier said that a government delegation will also visit the family in order to establish the family’s domestic circumstances and discuss details pertaining to funeral arrangements.

“These are very tragic developments, and it is disheartening to consider that Snegugu was on the cusp of coming back home and continuing to contribute towards the betterment of the lives of her fellow compatriots in her chosen specialist medical field,” Simelane said.

“We know that with each passing day, the waiting becomes more difficult, especially for the Myeni family, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that the mortal remains of their beloved daughter are brought back home for burial by the family, friends and community. The government will engage with authorities in the Philippines to ensure that Snegugu Myeni’s remains are brought home to her loved ones in a dignified manner.”

Simelane said that they have directed Mkhize to work closely with the Myeni family to provide the necessary assistance and support during this time.

“On behalf of the government and people of KwaZulu-Natal, we convey our most sincere condolences to the Myeni family on Snegugu’s demise. We wish her family and friends strength and fortitude as they go through this tragic loss,” Simelane said.

The Office of the Premier added that it was working with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to consolidate efforts towards the repatriation of Myeni’s mortal remains back to South Africa.

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