Johannesburg - The City Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality is the latest institution to find itself caught up in the saga of a baby exhumation for DNA testing.
And legal teams for President Cyril Ramaphosa, national police commissioner Khehla Sitole and the national Department of Health have had their fair share of challenges debating the matter in court.
This comes after a Daveyton mother, Zizipho Ranuga, claimed that Far East Rand Hospital wrongfully gave her a deceased child, whom she was pushed to bury. Ranuga turned to Marweshe Attorneys, who have been resolute in their fight against the big figures.
Ranuga said: “I’m really pleased that we have come to this point. Finally it seems like something will be done and people will be brought to the book. At least there’s still hope for justice after all that I went through. What happened to me has not been easy.”
Ranuga would not reiterate her ordeal with the hospital and the police but maintained that she was forced to bury the wrong child.
“I still remember what I went through and how I was treated by the nurses and police. I still have the evidence. At the moment, we will wait for the DNA testing process.”
Ramaphosa was added to the fold after Sitole was found to be in contempt of court.
The Star has since gathered that the president has been removed from the on-going conundrum, based on the separation of powers.
Meanwhile, the court has advised the Ekurhuleni Municipality to grant a permit authorising a registered undertaker within its jurisdiction to exhume the human remains buried at Grave 15, Crystal Park Cemetery in Benoni.
Indications are that the municipality is willing to spearhead the exhumation process after the cemetery and park head reached out to the law firm to issue them with the required permit for exhumation.
The court order – seen by The Star – indicates that the Department of Health will be liable for costs associated with the exhumation of the remains and the DNA testing within two days of the exhumation.
The court order states that Sitole should appoint a member of the police to be present throughout the duration of the exhumation.
On the other hand, the Department of Health has been instructed to appoint a qualified senior environmental health practitioner to supervise the removal of human remains.
According to the court order, the health practitioner is to ensure that the grave and human remains are treated with disinfectants after exhumation, and any other proactive measures he/ she may deem necessary.
The Department of Health has also been instructed to take the necessary steps, within two days of the exhumation of the remains, to appoint an independent private entity or pathologist to conduct DNA tests on the remains of the body, in order to establish whether the remains of the body match that of Ranuga.
“The appointed independent private entity is ordered to furnish the applicants (Ranuga’s) attorneys within five days of the appointment, with the results of the DNA tests and the conclusion reached in such DNA testing in writing.”
The court order further points out that should the DNA results show that the remains are not that of Ranuga’s baby, the Department of Health is ordered to immediately suspend all employees involved in this matter and immediately commence investigations.
“In the event that the DNA results show that the remains are not that of the applicant’s baby, the second respondent (the Department of Health) is ordered to immediately open a case of a missing person and another competence case, and to commence with necessary investigations to locate the applicant’s baby,” the court order reads.