Bittetsweet burial of two Saulsville children allegedly burnt to death by mother
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Pretoria - The burial of two Saulsville children who were allegedly burnt to death by their own mother was a bittersweet event to the family that had waited seven months for their bodies to be returned from medical examination.
The funeral of the siblings Kamogelo, 5, and Relebogile, 8, Motsaneng also started a few hours late due to another delay caused by a mix-up of coffins which forced the undertaker to take the bodies back and return them in the correct coffins.
However, the family, community members and activists who headed the call to put pressure on pathologists at Steve Biko Academic Hospital mortuary said they were relieved the children would be laid to rest because the wait had grown unbearable.
Speaking for the community was Lizy Futhane who told the children's grandmother Virginia Motsaneng to put her faith in the Lord and forgive her daughter, Koketso, who was in jail and faced charges of murder.
Futhane said no mother could just do something like that when she was in her normal sane mindset. She encouraged the family not to torture themselves emotionally trying to find answers for everything but to accept the things they cannot change and find a way to move towards closure.
Speaking to Pretoria News, she said: "I will never forget what happened on that day because we as old women carried hammers to try and break down the door of the abandoned house where the children were burnt.
"When we got inside their bodies were torched but to show God lives among us it just rained briefly somehow and the fires were put out. We are just happy the grandmother will be able to move forward from this now."
Action SA mayoral candidate in Tshwane Abel Tau said this was one of those moments where a person is happy and sad at the same time because on the one hand the family gets to move on from the ordeal but on the other hand two innocent children's time on earth officially ends.
Advocate Thuli Nkomo who was tasked in August by Tau to take on the state to have the bodies released said the moment she threatened to take the pathology institution to court they released the bodies.
Tau said: "The powers that be in places of public services need to know that at the end of every decision they make there are real people who have to live with those decisions. They must always make sure their decisions are in the interests of the public that they serve."
The family was grateful to the community and organisations like the South African Council of Churches in Tshwane, Pheli Youth Hub, #NotInMyName and Rekgonne Warriors Foundation who also fought to have the bodies released and provided support throughout.
#NotInMyName SA general-secretary Themba Masango said the organisation would continue supporting the family after the burial and well into the courts to ensure that answers are revealed to them until every T is crossed and every I is dotted.
Speaking for the family was Mashadi Mogolegwa from Rekgonne Warriors Foundation who said onward the family would move to forgive their children's mother because the fact remains that she still has no recollection of what actually happened on that day.
She said: "With this taking so long there was a time when we thought it would never happen but God being who he is we are here today.
"I also want to emphasise that Koketso is still our child in this family and where she is in prison right now she is alone. She is confused and she needs people that love her.
"Ultimately she is not a stranger. If she was a stranger we would keep our anger bottled up but she is somebody that we know. We hope that after burying these children we will have the courage to forgive her, console her and motivate her to remember what happened.
"I think she is at a stage where she does not understand that day and she cannot give us answers. Maybe when she can get to a point whereby she can tell us what happened we will be able to heal and move on.
"The only thing that angers us right now is that wherever she is she has a blanket, three meals a day, she can watch television and goes to sleep in a shelter but these children spent seven months in a mortuary fridge and that is a burden on its own.