For three weeks Nontombi Gwam couldn’t bury the little girl - who died after being taken to Prophet Paseka Mboro Motsoeneng’s Incredible Happenings church for prayers - due to financial constraints.
The family hadn’t a cent to transport the 3-year-old’s body to the Eastern Cape for burial, let alone money to buy a coffin or cover other funeral expenses. Gwam also had to deal with judgemental people who seemed to suggest it was her fault her daughter died.
By the time they received donations for the coffin and transport of the body to the Eastern Cape, Gwam had reached her limit, allegedly taking poison on Tuesday, just a day before she was to travel back home for the funera. Gwam’s older daughter, Esethu Gwam, and niece, Palesa Thwala, yesterday confirmed that she took poison on Tuesday and has been at an undisclosed hospital ever since.
Gwam is on record saying she took her sickly child, Latoya, to Motsoeneng’s church in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, on December 24 out of “desperation for help and prayers”.
This was after she was turned away at the Daveyton Main Clinic the day before. She accused nurses of refusing to attend to her sick child. But nurses union Denosa denied the mother was turned away. Gwam said she then took the child to a doctor and paid R930 for a drip for the sickly Latoya.
Esethu said the family had not buried Latoya because they did not have money. "Prophet Mboro is paying for the funeral but we need money for transporting the family to the Eastern Cape, tents and catering."
Esethu said her mother had been failed by the health system and police, which pushed her to attempt suicide.
“Nontombi has experienced every mother’s worst nightmare, losing a child. Not only that, she and her late daughter Latoya have been failed by the health system,” said a weeping Esethu, adding that some community members had begun to believe that the entire family did not care about Latoya.
Esethu accused police of refusing to open a case of assault and culpable homicide against a female paramedic dispatched to the church on Christmas Eve.
The paramedic allegedly threw an oxygen tank on a stretcher on which Latoya lay and it bounced and hit her foot, causing a fracture.
In an affidavit after Latoya’s death, Gwam said an ambulance arrived at the church, 90 minutes after the first call and that her baby was still alive.
Mboro said yesterday:“I will buy food, cover transport and get a tent."
He said he still had to pay for legal fees for the case the mother has opened against the paramedic and lawsuit over the death of little Latoya. Mboro is facing a charge of common assault .
Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services spokesperson William Ntladi said: “Before before two paramedics could do anything, the prophet was trying to load what seemed to be a lifeless body in the ambulance. Confrontation started between the crew and the prophet and a female ambulance driver was manhandled by the pastor, supported by the congregation." Mboro has denied this, saying the child was alive when she left the church.