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Haunted by her late father's remains, PE woman demands reburial from government

By Afikile Lugunya - May 21, 2018
Haunted by her late father's remains, PE woman demands reburial from government

In 2014, African National Congress (ANC) President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was still the Deputy President, visited Port Elizabeth while campaigning ahead of the 2016 Local Government Elections.

During that visit, he apparently met with a local resident, Noluthando Mazwai, who is the daughter of a late ANC struggle veteran, Joseph Mazwai.

She says she requested his assistance for a proper reburial of her father's remains and gave all the documentation she had on her father to Ramaphosa, who, she says, passed them on to the then Ward councillor at that time, to ensure that the reburial happens.

“[My father] has not been reburied although Ramaphosa insisted that he be reburied. I found the place where his bones are buried in a black plastic bag at Zwide Cemetery," Mazwai told RNEWS.

“However, they didn’t give me permission to take his bones so that I can rebury them myself."

Mazwai says she is haunted by the bones because his late father has not been properly buried.

"I can smell his bones when I am sleeping."

She said after the 2016 Local Government Elections, the then Councillor was replaced by current Councillor, Simphiwe Tyukana, and still there has not been any progress on the matter.

Mazwai, who is a tradition healer, said she also feels neglected by government despite her father's contributions to the struggle for freedom. 

"There’s nothing that they are giving me as a veteran’s daughter - even in the pension funds; I don’t get anything and I will never be able to work because I recently had a kidney operation - so, there is no way I will be able to work again," she described.

“I’m under a treatment, and all I need want from them is to take out my father from that hole they buried him in so that he can be buried with dignity as he deserves to be next to his wife at Forest Hill Cemetery.

“If they cannot do that, they must properly bury him where he is and I must get my rights as a person, whose father fought for freedom during the struggle. Today, they are riding on the gravy train and they don’t even look at us as children of the veterans."

Mazwai said that after being ignored by the ANC, she decided to join the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

“I became a fighter because I was ignored for so long by the ANC. Now, I am demanding that my father be reburied not later than three months.”

Mazwai said that she has been waiting for too long and all the documents that are needed for her father’s reburial are there.

“I don’t sleep because of the smell of the bones that I dream about because the ancestors are trying to tell me to do the right thing, which is to rebury my father with dignity next to my mother."

She added; "The ancestors once made me sick to a point where I couldn’t even walk.”

Mazwai said that she later dreamt of her father’s bones coming together to form a human shape, then next morning, she was able to walk again.

“My father spoke to me in my dream and told me that I was going to be able to walk again so I shouldn’t worry about anything.” she said.

Ward 41 Councillor, Simphiwe Tyukana, confirmed that she did engage with Mazwai on the issue. However, they lost contact in 2016.

According to Tyukana, the delay in the reburial was caused by the lack of support from the office of the former councillor.

“Mazwai kept pressurising me and demanding answers, but I had none, because of frustration on her side, she took all her documents from me and took them to Florence Matomela, the office of the ANC.”

Apparently, the ANC could not help her.

“In 2016, she came back because I was in a position to assist her, but she wanted everything to be done quickly within just a week without understanding the process," Tyukana described.

“Again she took all her documents and I never heard from her ever again."

RNEWS was yet to receive comment from the Office of the President over the matter at the time of publishing.

Image: Siv Neo Tom