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Banele Mthembu's Family Calls for Justice as Investigations Continue Over Missing Body

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The family of 19-year-old Banele Mthembu remain in anguish, seeking answers from both the Mpumalanga Department of Health and the police following an inexplicable disappearance of Banele's corpse from a state mortuary. The family uncovered Banele's death, due to an accident back in June 2020 - the same day they reported him missing; yet they were hit with the shocking discovery of Banele's body being absent from the morgue when seeking burial details.

The Mpumalanga police confirmed the arrest of an employee of the KwaMhlanga government morgue on September 9th, 2023 related to this baffling case but was later struck off from the court roll due to lack of evidence, needing further police investigation, according to Monica Nyuswa, the Provincial National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson.

The suspect, a senior employee at the KwaMhlanga forensic pathological services, is among two of the employees suspended by the Department of Health post-discovery of missing Banele's body. Unverified claims suggest that the body was illegally taken and dumped to fraudulently claim insurance money. Further investigations are in progress to ascertain these claims and the possible involvement of a syndicate in this case.

Police spokesperson Selvy Mohlala confirmed that Banele died in an accident in Loopspruit, a farm area near KwaMhlanga, and was unidentified at the time of his initial internment. Banele's brother, Sipho Mthembu, affirmed Banele's departure from home in the early days of June 2020 - a departure from which he never returned. Upon Banele's failure to return, the family had reported a missing person's case at Bronkhorstspruit police station.

The family was informed about Banele's untimely death only in March 2023, once a morgue employee introduced himself, sharing the distressing news but failing to provide substantial proof of Banele's burial. This was followed by the shocking revelation of Banele's body missing from the mortuary, pushing the family further into indescribable grief, especially affecting their mother, Christine Mthembu - now hospitalized six times due to the unbearable sorrow.

Agonized by delayed information, lack of transparency, and the subsequent disappearance of Banele's body, Sipho Mthembu seeks answers, justice against the perpetrators, and Banele's body for a fitting farewell. Meanwhile, the Department of Health remains tight-lipped, stating that an internal investigation is ongoing.

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