Durban — Medical student Snegugu Myeni’s body is on its way home from the Philippines.
Myeni, a final-year medical student in the Philippines, died at the airport on July 10, before getting on to a plane back to South Africa, the KwaZulu-Natal government said.
KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Myeni family. As the provincial government we do not want the family to suffer the pain of the loss of their beloved daughter alone. The provincial government had taken the decision to assist with the repatriation process and funeral arrangements to ensure Snegugu is given a dignified send-off.”
Government media liaison Gugu Sisilana said Myeni’s body would arrive in South Africa on July 26, at OR Tambo International Airport.
Sisilana said this followed the provincial government’s efforts to expedite the repatriation of Myeni.
“Upon landing in the country, Snegugu’s remains will be prepared and kept overnight at a mortuary in Johannesburg,” she said.
Sisilana said preparations were under way for a special prayer ceremony to be held on July 27, at a chapel near the airport. Thereafter, Myeni’s body would be prepared for transportation by road to Utrecht.
She said the ceremony would be attended by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the Myeni family, and close relatives.
Sisilana said Myeni’s funeral would take place on July 29, and details of the venue would be communicated.
She said social workers continued to be on hand to provide psychosocial support to the Myeni family as they prepared to lay their loved one to rest.
Over the weekend, the IFP in KwaZulu-Natal said helping the Myeni family was not cheap political grandstanding.
The party said this after acting premier Nomagugu Simelane said: “We also note with disdain those who are trying to manipulate the plight of a grieving mother for cheap political grandstanding.”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms attempts by these unscrupulous people to politicise ongoing efforts to repatriate Snegugu’s remains,” Simelane said.
IFP chief whip in the KZN legislature, Blessed Gwala, said the party was shocked by claims from the KZN ANC-led government that offers of assistance to Myeni’s family were “cheap political grandstanding”.
“After receiving the sad news of the passing of their beloved daughter in the Philippines, the family of Snegugu Myeni sought assistance for the repatriation of her body as they did not have the necessary finances. However, the ANC-led KZN government allegedly refused to assist, citing a myriad reasons,” Gwala said.
He said the family then took to social media to share their plight and ask for help.
Gwala said that in response to the plea, IFP-led Zululand District Municipality (ZDM) mayor Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi, assisted by local business owners, pledged to help the family with repatriation costs.
“We would like to commend the generosity displayed by the ZDM mayor, as well as local businesses. We urge others to follow suit,” Gwala said.
“However, according to a reliable source in the family, when the ANC-led KZN government heard of this, officials from the KZN Premier’s office allegedly interrogated the Myeni family about why they requested assistance from the IFP-led Zululand District Municipality. Further, the officials allegedly gave the family an ultimatum: reject the offer, otherwise, they would not be assisted by the ANC government.”
Gwala said this was despite a statement from Buthelezi stating that “his intervention will not be interfering with the government processes”.
“If the ANC-led government truly cared, they would have helped immediately and not waited until the family’s heartbreak became an opportunity for media coverage. It would be wise for the ruling party to tread lightly when it comes to such emotional issues. This is yet another clear indication that the ANC-led government has lost the spirit of Ubuntu,” he said.
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