THE department of health and social development has refused to bury a patient who died when the government vehicle she was travelling in was involved in an accident.
Christina Makhuvele, 67, was killed when the car in which she and five other patients were being transported from Maphutha-Malatji Hospital in Namakgale, Phalaborwa, to Dr CN Phatudi Hospital in Tzaneen overturned on October 1.
The crash occurred after one of the tyres burst and the driver lost control. The driver and a nurse escaped with minor injuries.
Now Makhuvele's family wants the department to carry the responsibility of burying her since she died in its care.
The spokesperson for the department Selby Makgotho said although it sympathised with the family of the deceased, the department felt it was not its responsibility to bury Makhuvele
Makgotho said yesterday: "While we acknowledge that the accident happened while we were carrying patients in our vehicle, we do not accept responsibility for the death.
"An accident can occur any time, anywhere, irrespective of who and what caused it."
Makgotho said government officials had visited the family frequently to offer moral support.
But the family insists the department must provide funds for the burial.
"We are not refusing to bury the deceased. But we do not have the budget for such a burial," Makgotho said.
Makhuvele was expected to be buried at the local cemetery tomorrow .
Efforts to get comment from her family drew a blank yesterday.