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A grieving East London family and community members had to guard the remains of a man from scavenging dogs for a day after police failed to collect his body.
The man, Xolani Kosani, 30, of Endlovini Informal Settlement in Cambridge, died in a blaze that destroyed his girlfriend's shack.
He died last Saturday.
Community leader Mvuyo Mandlana said residents only became aware of what was happening to Kosani's remains when they saw the dogs chewing his bones at the scene.
"We went to investigate and saw bones. We alerted the police. We had to cover the remains with heavy metal objects and zinc sheets to protect them from the dogs," said Mandlana.
He said police arrived on Sunday and collected the bones discovered by the community.
But more bones of the deceased were discovered the next day [Monday] and the police were again called.
Mandlana said the police only arrived again on Wednesday after the distraught family had gone to the police station.
Kosani's uncle, Phumzile Jim, said: "We went to the police to speak to them about this. They told us they would arrive later, but we refused to leave without them.
" They only agreed to take the remains after we told them that we would take them to the mortuary ourselves."
Superintendent Mtati Tana, a police spokesman, said collecting corpses was no longer the duty of the police because the mortuary had been transferred to the Department of Health.
An allegedly highly intoxicated Kosani had arrived at his girlfriend's shack last Saturday night and she had begun cooking a meal for him on a paraffin stove before they both went to sleep.
It is suspected that the stove fell over and set the shack on fire. His girlfriend suffered burns to her face and arms and is in a critical condition in hospital.