DURBAN - THE grandmother of former rugby player Lindani Myeni, who was shot dead by police in Hawaii last week, said the family were grateful for support from the South African government.
Speaking after the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government visited the family on Wednesday to discuss the repatriation of his body, Beatrice Nhleko said the family were grateful for what the government has done for them.
The family, together with his widow Lindsay Myeni, had said earlier this week that they wanted Myeni to be buried in South Africa.
“We are truly torn apart by losing Lindani, however, the help we have received from the neighbours, city, province and national (government) have provided us with much needed comfort,” said Nhleko.
She said that there was an attorney based overseas who was helping the family to engage with the Hawaiian authorities.
Nhleko added that the family were still in the dark about the reason why Myeni was shot by the police.
Myeni, who was born in KZN and attended George Campbell Technical High School, was shot dead by Honolulu police in Hawaii last Wednesday night.
He had moved with his wife, Lindsay, and children to the island early last year.
The 29-year-old was shot when police said they were responding to a home burglary incident. It is not clear what Myeni was doing outside the home.
When the police arrived at the scene, a scuffle ensued between Myeni and the three officers.
It is alleged that Myeni punched and injured three officers, with one of the officers opening fire, shooting him four times.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said interactions between the KZN Office of the Premier, the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation (Dirco) and the consul-general in the US regarding the repatriation process were taking place.
On Wednesday, a delegation from the premier’s office led by provincial director general Nonhlanhla Mkhize, visited Myeni's family home in Empangeni.
Part of the aim of the visit was to establish the family’s domestic circumstances and details regarding funeral arrangements.
“As the government of KZN, we remain hopeful that justice will prevail and that the killers of Myeni will be brought to book soon.
“We will continue to work closely with the family to finalise arrangements for Lindani’s mortal remains to be brought back in safety and dignity to the province,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala said that they were in regular contact with Dirco and the Office of the Consul-General to consolidate efforts towards the repatriation of Myeni’s body back to South Africa.
“We have directed ... Mkhize to work with the family of Lindani Myeni to provide the necessary assistance and support to the family at this time.
“We wish his family and friends both in Honolulu and in South Africa strength and fortitude as they go through this tragic loss,” Zikalala said.
He also applauded the citizens of South Africa for pledging support in various ways to the family.