Pain of denied repatriation

DISTRAUGHT: Miranda Card of East London. Pic. Vuyolwethu Sangotsha. 15/08/07. © Sowetan.
DISTRAUGHT: Miranda Card of East London. Pic. Vuyolwethu Sangotsha. 15/08/07. © Sowetan.

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

An East London grandmother, whose daughter was allegedly gunned down by her American husband in Chicago in 2002, has vowed to have her grandson and the remains of her late daughter brought back to South Africa.

The grandmother, Miranda Card, 52, said there was an agreement with US authorities that after the completion of the murder case she would be given custody of her grandson, Waiive.

"They are not saying anything now," she added.

Card said the case had finished in 2005 and her son-in-law William Spates was convicted of killing his wife Anita Spates, born Card.

The grandchild, Card said, was now living with foster parents in the US. She said that a South African magistrate, Andre Williams, had been trying to assist them.

Card said the Americans had failed to respond to correspondence from Williams.

Attempts to get comment from Williams had proved unsuccessful.

"In spite of all these impediments, I won't give up. Waiive belongs to South Africa because he was born in this country.

"We don't know how he is over there because the foster parents' telephone is always on an answering machine," said the distraught grandmother.

She appealed to any good Samaritan who can help get her grandson back to assist her.

She has also asked the UN to intervene.

Reports from the US a couple of years ago said the family had lost the battle to get the child "partly" because Zine Magubane, a South African based in the US, had painted a bad picture of the Eastern Cape.

Magubane had reportedly cited high HIV rates, crime and a weak child welfare system.

"We have not received any documentation from the US saying that we have lost the custody of the child," said Card.

She said they were told that Waiive was staying with a foster mother as a temporary arrangement until after the completion of the case.

To make matters worse Card said Spates had denied her an opportunity to have Anita buried in South Africa.

She said she had wanted her daughter to be cremated and her ashes brought back to this country together with her grandson.

"Not knowing what happened to the body of my daughter pains me a lot. I was told that someone in the US was going to keep it in a vault while there was still a tussle between me and Spates," she said.

Anita, a former University of Fort Hare graduate, met Spates over the Internet. She later went to the US as an exchange student and married him there.