The Monitor :: Facebook helps uncover death of local woman at Baragwanath Hospital
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Last Updated
Thursday 15 November 2018, 12:08 pm.
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Facebook helps uncover death of local woman at Baragwanath Hospital

SELEBI PHIKWE: A family has social media to thank after learning of their relative’s death through Facebook.
By Onalenna Kelebeile Mon 07 May 2018, 13:39 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Facebook helps uncover death of local woman at Baragwanath Hospital








The deceased, Gaongalelwe Sedimo, a member of Evangelical Church of God (ECG) of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri had been lying at Baragwanath Hospital mortuary in South Africa since March while the family this side was unaware of her death.

The woman is said to have left the country with some friends on March 4, 2018 to South Africa for ‘deliverance’ at a different church, not ECG.

When her party returned two days later, she remained behind for further consultation, whereupon she fell sick and had to be taken to the hospital. Unfortunately she passed away and the process of tracing the family by the church who had taken her to the hospital became unsuccessful.

The deceased’s concerned son, on learning from her friends, through Facebook that others have long returned, sought assistance from the police on March 15.

“I wondered how my mother could be surviving while she went there without any money. That is why I took it upon myself to go to the police. I later learnt though Facebook that she was no more. The police on the other had investigated the matter with their South African counterparts and confirmed to my family that indeed my mother has passed on and was still lying in the mortuary in South Africa,” he said.

The family had to seek assistance through the area councillor, Molefhi Pilane on how they could repatriate the body to Selebi-Phikwe for burial. After going from office to office seeking assistance, the District office issued a letter to authorise Baragwanath Hospital to release the body to them. However the family has no money to repatriate the corpse.

The deceased was unemployed, her mother who has lost her sight is very old and was due to be enrolled for social welfare programmes while at the same time there is nobody in the family who can assist financially.

The family was mostly concerned that the South African authorities would bury her in South Africa if she is not collected on time. They appealed to the local authority who after lengthy deliberations, took the responsibility last Thursday to repatriate the body and conduct the burial.

Selebi-Phikwe Town

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Council Clerk Godimo Garegope confirmed that the council decided to intervene following the family plea.

“We conducted extensive assessment of the family to establish their economic means and we prepared a report that proved that indeed the family cannot afford the repatriation and all the associated costs.

I received the go-ahead today (Thursday) from the Ministry to commence the process. We have since outsourced the process of collecting the body and burial to a local mortuary that we are contracted to,” he said.

The council will also take care of the expenses for the embalming and examination of the body by the South African health authorities before the body is transferred to Botswana.

Garegope said the processes have already commenced after the council was given authority by the Permanent Secretary and the burial site has already been identified.

 The body is expected to arrive upon completion of all the necessary requirements.

A family representative Esther Basetse said they are so happy with the councillor, District Commissioner and council’s intervention otherwise their daughter who was aged 47 would end up be buried in South Africa.  “We just could not afford the costs of body examination and treatment, permits and repatriation.

The mother is very old and blind and had long been assessed for social welfare assistance without any assistance.

We do not have words enough to thank our local authorities and government,” she said.

She also salutes the ECG family “for the emotional support they offered the family without any concern that our daughter left without the church’s authority and even went to a different church in South Africa.” She appreciated that Facebook, which is often abused, worked well for their family.

Councillor Pilane was grateful that their intervention paid off and explained that in other instances, government bore the repatriation costs as a loan to the family to pay back afterwards, but this time all expenses would be taken care of because it has been proven that there is nobody in the family to afford that loan.

 The burial date would be set after the body is released from South Africa. Daily prayers are held in the meantime.

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