Akieda Smith reunited with her uncle Gasant Bassier at the Brooklyn Chest, five months after they thought he was dead. Picture - Supplied.
Akieda Smith reunited with her uncle Gasant Bassier at the Brooklyn Chest, five months after they thought he was dead. Picture - Supplied.

Cape Town man presumed dead found alive 5 months later

By Tshego Lepule Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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AFTER a five-month-long bungle in a case of mistaken identity of an unclaimed corpse at Salt River Mortuary, a Woodstock family has found their missing relative alive in hospital.

The case of Gasant Bassier baffled authorities for months after two families claimed the body of an unidentified man belonged to them.

On June 8 forensic pathologists picked up the remains of an unknown man under a bridge along Sir Lowry Road in Cape Town. The body lay unclaimed for weeks until Bassier’s niece Akieda Smith showed up at the mortuary and identified the body as that of her missing uncle, Bassier. But a fingerprint report said otherwise.

What followed was a two month-long wait for DNA results that also confirmed that the body did not belong to the missing 58-year-old, a fact Bassier’s family struggled to accept.

Gasant Bassier, was presumed dead by his family after he went missing and family thought an unidentified body at Salt River Mortuary belonged to him. Picture - Supplied

“No one had seen or heard from him for months and we got worried,” said Smith.

“So I checked everywhere and phoned mortuaries until I went to Salt River with his picture and the man working there uploaded it and an image of a man that looked exactly like my uncle popped up on that computer. Same facial structure, same beard, everything. But they wouldn’t allow me to see his body.

“And after the DNA test said it wasn’t him and the mortuary releasing the body to another family, we had to given up hope. I was convinced that my Muslim uncle had been buried in a Christian ceremony and that he would never find peace.”

But last week, the family was shocked when they learnt that Bassier was alive and recovering at a hospital less than 8km away from them.

“Imagine my surprise when a social worker showed up at my house last week to tell me that my uncle was alive,” she said.

“Apparently he had his ID on him, someone had taken him to Groote Schuur Hospital where he had been treated for a stroke and Tuberculosis. And nobody told us he was ill and he was later transferred to Brooklyn Chest Hospital.

“The social worker only found us after Home Affairs told them that his ID was registered under my home address. We are very happy to have found him after all these months.”

Groote Schuur Hospital spokesperson, Alaric Jacobs, confirmed that Bassier was admitted to hospital on June 15.

“This patient was at Groote Schuur Hospital and transferred to Brooklyn Chest Hospital on July 20,” he said.

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