The government's much-vaunted Batho Pele policy echoed emptily yesterday for Nobuhle Ndlebe, the mother who has had to wait for more than a year to bury her twin babies.
When Gauteng health officials arrived at Ndlebe's home at Makausi informal settlement, she thought they had brought her the long-awaited results of DNA tests intended to establish that the bodies of two children who died in hospital were those of her twins.
Only once the identities of the children were confirmed would the authorities release them for burial.
Only then would Ndlebe be able to say goodbye to her babies.
But the government has dashed her dreams.
Officials have callously refused to give her the results, claiming that their first duty is to give them to Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa. But he is on leave, so Ndlebe must wait.
Not one of the nine government officials who walked into her yard would tell her anything.
Official Makhudu Modise told her: "We have the results, but we cannot tell you now. We need to notify our MEC first. When we have notified him we will come back and tell you," he said.
Ndlebe's face flushed as she struggled to make sense of what was happening.
She swallowed hard before asking, in a barely audible voice: "I was told I would receive the results today. Now you are telling me I have to wait some more.
"After everything I have suffered, I have to wait again?"
Ndlebe's anguish should have ended yesterday - but it was not to be.
Government protocol outweighs a mother's grief.