Families demand new coffin for dug up body

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

There was drama at the Mhala magistrates' court in Thulamaha she, Mpumalanga, yesterday after the court appearance of a man, a 16-year-old girl and her 17-year-old brother in connection with the illegal exhumation of the body of the teenagers' aunt earlier this month.

The suspects have been in custody since the body of Lindiwe Mogwena, of Godide village, near Manyeleti game reserve, was exhumed on December 7.

The teenagers have claimed that God instructed them to exhume their aunt so she could be resurrected.

They were released yesterday into the custody of their mother.

Zachariah Tivane was granted bail of R1000.

The court instructed the teenagers' mother to bring them to court for their next appearance on January 31.

Outside the court two families demanded that the teenagers' mother buy a new coffin for Mogwena and that she raise the R1000 for Tivane's bail.

Mogwena's sister, Surprise Nxumalo, shouted at the teenagers' mother to buy the coffin, exhume her sister's body again and rebury it in the new coffin.

"You allowed your children to exhume my sister, now you must do us all a favour and buy a new coffin, dig her up and rebury her in the coffin that you have to buy," Nxumalo told the teenagers' mother.

Before the mother could reply, Tivane's half-brother, Elliot Mdipane, instructed her to raise the R1000 bail for his brother because her children had convinced him to help them.

"My brother is behind bars because of your children. We do not have the money to bail him out so you must see to it that you raise it before sunset today," Mdipane said.

The mother replied that she only had R400 but was willing to be accompanied to her husband who could raise the balance.

Angry members of the community threatened her with violence.

She grabbed her two children and rushed to the police station, about 150m away.

The three suspects reportedly fasted and prayed for 14 days before exhuming the woman's body on the 15th day.

They allegedly removed the body from the grave and placed it in a house where they continued praying.

When the police were called in they pleaded with officers not to arrest them because the woman would be resurrected.