Curse of foreign lovers
Mom pleads for release of killed husband's body - Home Affairs official accepts bribe, then orders immigrant's deportation
A WOMAN from Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, still can't bury her common-law husband of eight years because he was an illegal immigrant.
Mbali Mokubung lived with Mozambican Sipho Mokoena when he died on September 28.
The couple had three children, two of whom died.
Mokoena had paid inhlawulo (damages paid when a man impregnates a woman out of wedlock) on three occasions.
Mokoena, 36, was stabbed several times in their yard following an argument with a friend about his "successes, despite being undocumented".
He was a construction worker "in demand".
He died at Tembisa Hospital's intensive care unit two days later.
Mokubung, 34, said when she heard Mokoena and Mbuso Mathe argue, she ordered her husband into the house. Mathe allegedly went into his shack and returned a few minutes later.
"The argument continued and it got physical. I thought Mbuso was hitting him with fists but he was stabbing him. Sipho managed to stumble back into the house and then he fell," Mokubung said.
Now, Mokubung, who miscarried a baby at seven months in April, cannot get the Germiston mortuary to give her Mokoena's body for burial.
Said Mokubung: "I was with him for many years. I am his family. I just want to bury him. If authorities cannot let me bury him because he was undocumented, they must at least give me his grave number or let me come to the funeral.
"He cannot just be dumped where I do not know.
"His son will one day want to visit his grave and it will be hard for us if we do not know where it is."
She said in the eight years that she and Mokoena had been together, they lost two children.
"Our first born is six. In 2007, our second child died just after birth because he could not breathe properly. I discovered I had miscarried this year when I went for a sonar. The umbilical cord was wrapped around my baby's neck and he was strangled," she said tearfully.
Mokubung said Mokoena had told her that he grew up as an orphan.
Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said: "We do not conduct investigations. The mortuary has to do the investigation. Once they have finalised the report, they must send it to us.
"We will then issue them with a death registration form and later issue a death certificate."
Gauteng department of health spokesman Simon Zwane said it would be difficult to prove that Mokubung has the right to bury Mokoena. "She has to bring proof that no other person has a claim over his body," he said.
Zwane said Mokubung should bring her children's birth certificates and an affidavit to prove that Mokoena was their father.
Though Mathe handed himself over to the police on the night of the stabbing, attempted murder charges against him were provisionally withdrawn pending a complete investigation.
Police spokeswoman Captain Lydia Mtila-Dikolomela said the charge had been changed to murder.
"Once investigations have been finalised, the suspect will be arrested," she said.
Mokubung said: "Mbuso is living a normal life. How am I supposed to live with a person who has brought me so much pain. He must be re-arrested."